obama: the deportation president

The Right will remember Obama as a Godless Muslim Socialist.* The Left will remember him as He Who Brought Us Healthcare. Overseas, he may come to be known as the Great Snoop, or perhaps, Death from Above. But there are many in this country who will remember Obama as El Deportador.

According to sociologist Tanya Golash-Boza, Obama has headed one of the most intense waves of deportation in the history of the United States and the onus heavily falls on non-whites. Golash-Boza describes this in a recent Houston Chronicle op-ed (ungated version here):

The deportation of legal permanent residents has hit black immigrants particularly hard. Using data from the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Census Bureau, I calculated that one of every 12 Jamaican and Dominican male legal permanent residents has been deported since 1996.

The United States currently detains upwards of 30,000 immigrants per day, much as it imprisoned more than 120,000 people of Japanese origin during World War II without trials or other court processes. The Department of Homeland Security has broad discretion to arrest and detain any person they suspect does not have the legal right to be in the United States. People held under such detention do not have the same rights and safeguards as criminal suspects. They do not have the right to a speedy hearing before a judge nor do they have the right to appointed counsel.


in 2012, more than 400,000 people were deported. Nearly 100,000 of them were parents of U.S. citizens. Tens of thousands of these children will grow up in the United States knowing that the U.S. government has taken away their right to grow up with one or both of their parents.

Numerous commentators note that Obama’s administration has deported more people in five years than where deported in all eight years of Bush II and more than all previous administrations going back to 1892 (!!) :

According to current figures from Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the federal agency responsible for deportations — Obama has removed 1.4 million people during his 42 months in office so far. Technically, that’s fewer than under George W. Bush, whose cumulative total was 2 million. But Bush’s number covers eight full years, which doesn’t allow an apples-to-apples comparison.

If you instead compare the two presidents’ monthly averages, it works out to 32,886 for Obama and 20,964 for Bush, putting Obama clearly in the lead. Bill Clinton is far behind with 869,676 total and 9,059 per month. All previous occupants of the White House going back to 1892 fell well short of the level of the three most recent presidents.


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* Yes, I know. The right isn’t known for its logical consistency.

Written by fabiorojas

October 29, 2013 at 12:01 am

Posted in ethics, fabio

7 Responses

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  1. So why is this? My thought is that drones, spying, and deportations all part of the same process–the deepening and normalization of the security state. During the Cold War the military had bipartisan support and was a powerful bureaucracy that the president had (and still has) limited control over. One could say that the same is now occurring with the security state apparatus–DoD, NSA, Homeland Security, DEA, and associated contractors and patronage dependent politicians. The question then becomes: to what extent are these deportations the result of Obama’s agency as president, or his lack of it?



    October 29, 2013 at 1:09 am

  2. As far as the War on Terror, there is strong bipartisan support and I suspect that patronage drives a lot of this. There is almost certainly a similar process at work when it comes to immigration – a lot of powerful unions and contractors benefit from deportation.

    But at least with NSA, Obama seems to approve of it and reluctantly acknowledge it. With deportation, it’s Jekyll and Hyde. One Obama talks reform, while the other allow homeland to send plane after plane back to guatemala.



    October 29, 2013 at 2:34 am

  3. Rather than adjusting the policy to the social realities, the geniuses in Congress have tried to adjust the reality to their foolish, mean spirited and ineffective policies. Rather than people coming back and forth freely, the journey is made more dangerous, expensive, and it is criminalizes. People are arrested, fed into this massive component of the migration industry and deported…only to start the dysfunctional cycle all over again. Great policy work–I’d say…



    October 29, 2013 at 2:40 am

  4. Thanks for linking to this discussion, Fabio.

    As for putting the onus on Obama, one thing he very clearly did is to put Janet Napolitano into office as head of DHS. He could have chosen someone who focused on national security – like the current nominee – Jeh Johnson. Instead, he chose Napolitano – who had a record of focusing on interior enforcement of immigration laws.

    The rise in deportations started in the last two years of the Bush administration. Obama kept going in the same direction. I suppose it was a policy battle he did not want to take on.


  5. Some are saying this is still not enough…



    October 31, 2013 at 9:45 am

  6. Hector, that shouldn’t be surprising from that group – doesn’t the CIS have ties to white nationalist groups?



    October 31, 2013 at 11:12 pm

  7. They do. But that does not sem to matter to APPAM, an academic association. APPAM finds it ok to invite CIS as speakers to their panel under the misguided notion that inviting fear mongers and hate groups somehow leads to “fair and balanced” policy discourse…



    November 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm

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