Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) February 8, 2013 – The latest data from the U.S. government shows that almost 410,000 people were deported during the fiscal year ending September, 2012.
That number does not come as a shock to critics; while President Obama has stated that his administration supports a path to citizenship for a large number of undocumented immigrants, a record 1.5 million were deported during his first term in office. More than 50 percent of the people deported during the last fiscal year were convicted of nonviolent crimes, including driving under the influence and minor drug offenses. According to the White House, other deportations have included felons, individuals who have repeatedly violated immigration laws, and people who pose a threat to national security.
“Various immigrant advocate groups and community leaders have voiced concern that the number of deportations overseen by Obama’s administration indicate that the White House may not be discerning enough,” said Annie Banerjee, Houston immigration attorney.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., stated that while some of the 409,849 people deported were hardened criminals, there were likely a large number of hard-working individuals who were assets to their communities, but were deported anyway due to policy. Gutierrez added that he estimated approximately 90,000 people are deported every year who did not commit crimes. The need for comprehensive immigration reform has never been higher, he indicated.
In what may be a response to the criticism, the Director of U.S. Immigration and Enforcement, John Morton, has issued a directive to immigration agents, stating that they should focus on deportation of individuals they deem “serious offenders.” Immigration agents do not plan to pursue undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of just one or two minor misdemeanors, like traffic violations.
Director Mortin issued a statement indicating the focus is on “criminal and priority aliens,” while touting the President’s deferred deportation program. The program, says Morton, allows qualified young illegal immigrants a renewable, two-year reprieve. The program, which launched in August 2012, has received more than 350,000 applications; more than 100,000 applicants have already been approved.
Annie Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer specializing in helping people become United States citizens. The law offices assist in visas and other legal immigration requirements as well. To learn more, visit http://www.visatous.com.
Law Offices of Annie Banerjee
131 Brooks Street, Suite #300
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139