Deportations at an all-time high make one wonder about immigration reforms chances

Even though immigration reform is supposedly flagged as a “must do” for this year, one wonders about its success with the high rate of deportations.

The next four years are crucial for President Obama. He has been given the mandate, for a second time, to do something about immigration reform. Will it happen? Who knows. The fiscal cliff and its ramifications will continue to dog the nation for the foreseeable future, so immigration reform is in the backseat, once again.

More than this fact though, is the disturbing deportation numbers. In the first three years of Obama’s initial term, deportation was an honorable thing to do, the right thing to do and the more the better, to the tune of 1.2 million deportations. The clear action of deporting so fast and so many was in clear opposition to the words of immigration reform. And today, we still have just “words,” which is a dismal prospect for millions hoping against hope that reform will happen within the next four years.

A close look at the deportation numbers for the last year reveal an interesting story. Any time they dipped, the Congressional Republicans had a hissy fit. They were aiming for 400,000 deportations a year and it looked like they would fall short, the Republicans put out a call for ICE to quickly fill the quotas. Then came the controversial Secure Communities program and a change of President.

To keep the peace, Obama let the Republicans expand the Secure Communities, even though it was full of holes, posed serious legal issues and had a nasty habit of netting innocent aliens. No one much liked the program for its quota-based mentality. Thing is, keeping deportation numbers in the stratosphere is obviously counterintuitive to what immigration reform should be and do, and that is to successfully craft a policy that automatically accomplishes a decrease in deportations.

Is change still possible? Yes, but only with everyone working in concert to make a difference. Perhaps this may come to pass this term, with the Republicans realizing that if they don’t get off the pot with regard to moving immigration reform forward, then they may face extinction as a party. If government is to work for the good of the country as a whole, then there are a lot of Republican politicians who don’t seem to get the idea that clearly. 2013 may be an interesting year.

Sally Odell — Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit