ICE’s shady bookkeeping blurs U.S. deportation numbers

The Center for Investigative Reporting uncovered some shady deportation record keeping that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) put into place in order to drive up the Obama Administration’s expulsion numbers.

One of the first Republicans to speak out against ICE’s record keeping methods was House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Smith is on the record stating that Congress deserves an honest and fair accounting of the deportation numbers.

The Center for Investigative Reporting reported that “392,862 deportations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement included more than 19,000 immigrants who had exited the previous fiscal year, according to agency statistics.”

They also contend that “ICE also ran a Mexican repatriation program five weeks longer than ever before, allowing the agency to count at least 6,500 exits that, without the program, would normally have been tallied by the U.S. Border Patrol.”

But ICE still stands by their numbers.

“When the secretary tells you that the numbers are at an all-time high, that’s straight, on the merits, no cooking of the books,” said John Morton director of ICE regarding DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. “It’s what happened.”

The United States currently uses an option known as a “voluntary return” as a means to encourage some illegal aliens to return home without going through legal procedures. However, this rule allows hundreds of illegal aliens to avoid an immigration judge who would rule on deportation due to offenses like drunken driving, domestic violence and misdemeanor assault.

If an illegal alien voluntarily leaves the country they are able to return to the U.S. and legally apply for residence at a later date. It is this fact that troubles Congressman Smith.

“Allegations that ICE officials may have engaged in a coordinated effort to pad the Agency’s deportation numbers are troubling. Encouraging illegal immigrants facing criminal charges to take an ‘easy out’ rather than receive a conviction ultimately hurts the American people,” Smith said. “It makes it easier for many illegal immigrants with dangerous prior records to return to the U.S. Congress has a responsibility to pursue the facts surrounding ICE deportation practices to ensure that the law is being enforced to the fullest extent.”

When it comes to the illegal immigration dilemma lawmakers point to a multi-prong plan as the only way America will ever manage its rampant and out of control illegal immigration problem.

“Deportation is not enough when it comes to addressing the problem of illegal immigration. Until the Obama Administration secures the U.S.-Mexico border, thousands of previously deported illegal immigrants will return to the U.S. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are pushing for amnesty for an estimated two million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.,” Smith explained.

Another reason many Americans and lawmakers are concerned with providing amnesty through the DREAM Act directly relates to the economy.

“Legalizing millions of illegal immigrants means more competition for scarce jobs. It is an insult to the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet,” says Smith.

Smith goes on to say that the new 112th Congress vows to take up the illegal immigration issue in January, however he claims lawmakers will keep the interests of the American in mind. “We will promote policies to help grow the economy and put Americans back to work,” he finished.

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© Copyright 2010 Kimberly Dvorak all rights reserve

About thekdreport

Investigative journalist

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