Washington D.C. – Today the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released a new report that makes a range of false claims about deportation data. Following is a statement from Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, in response to “Catch and Release: Interior Immigration Enforcement in 2013”
“A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) makes a range of false claims about deportation data. First their claim that out of 722,000 “potentially deportable aliens” encountered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement only 195,000 were charged is completely misleading. As a result of dragnet programs like Secure Communities, any foreign-born individual that that comes into contact with law-enforcement likely falls into 722,000 number cited by CIS. Thus, this number includes immigrants (including long time permanent residents) whose interaction with law enforcement was so minor that they are not even legally subject to removal. In fact, that data likely includes U.S. citizens as well. CIS is essentially asserting that a legal-permanent resident or a recently naturalized citizen with a broken tail light should be charged by ICE and removed from the country although there is no basis in law for such action.
“Second, the claim that only 195,000 were charged by ICE is completely misleading. Sadly, it isn’t necessary to be “charged” by ICE in order to be removed from the country. For instance, this “charged” number does not include the 159,624 people who were removed based on the reinstatement of a prior removal order or the 23,455 that were voluntarily returned to their country of birth. And, the number likely does not include the additional 101,000 that were removed from the U.S. based on an expedited removal order, where they were summarily removed without ever having a chance to take their case before a judge or receive any meaningful due process.
“Furthermore, the report claims ICE “released” 68,000 “criminal aliens” yet fails to explain that being released is not the equivalent of being set-free. Being released from ICE custody often means being issued a notice to appear in court, released with an ankle bracelet or released under an order of supervision. These details were conveniently left out of the CIS analysis.
Understanding deportation data is important in the current debate over immigration reform. However, reports full of false and misleading data do nothing to move the discussion forward and pave the way for further polarization and inaction.”