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Study shows ‘backdoor amnesty,’ says congressman

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)

A study released by Syracuse University that found a 33 percent decline in ICE deportations is proof of the Obama administration’s “backdoor amnesty” for illegal immigrants, said the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 24.

The report released by the Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), shows the number of deportation proceedings initiated by ICE fell sharply, by 33 percent, in the last quarter, from nearly 59,000 filings to a little more than 39,000.  The drop, said Smith, “follows the Obama administration’s implementation of its new deportation guidelines that amount to backdoor amnesty. 

The Syracuse study said the number of ICE deportation proceedings initiated between October and December 2011 in the nation's 50-plus Immigration Courts fell sharply to only 39,331 —a 33 percent decline from 58,639 filings recorded the previous quarter. Filings are typically lower at this time of year, it said, but even adjusting for this seasonal drop-off and for late reporting, there appear to have been over 10,000 fewer deportation filings than would have been expected last quarter.

The substantial drop, it said, may have been caused by the steps to implement the June 17, 2011 DHS directive on prosecutorial discretion,  or as the indirect effect of the review announced August 18, 2011 by the Administration of all pending Immigration Court cases. The objective of these twin initiatives was to better target enforcement resources on high priority cases, it said

The report added, however, it found “little evidence” criminal aliens have been making up a higher overall proportion of deportations.

“Last quarter’s data confirms what we knew all along: President Obama is recklessly determined to grant backdoor amnesty to thousands of illegal immigrants,” said Smith, adding that the president was wooing Hispanics for their votes in the upcoming November election.

“President Obama’s goal of reelection is a slap in the face to unemployed American workers.  With 13 million unemployed Americans competing with seven million illegal immigrants for scarce jobs, the President shouldn’t brag about having another term in office.  The President is supposed to act in the interest of the American people, not illegal immigrants.  But President Obama has failed to live up to this responsibility.”

Last November, ICE prosecutors were given more leeway in which cases they decide to take on in immigration court. The Obama administration said the change would allow U.S. attorneys to focus on criminal aliens, but Smith said DHS “made clear that many illegal immigrants are not considered ‘priorities’ for removal, including potential DREAM Act beneficiaries, an illegal immigrant who has had a long-term presence in the U.S., has an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen, and/or has compelling ties to the U.S. 

Smith said the new deportation guidance also states ICE may administratively close asylum cases where the immigrants makes a joint request to close.  Although it is estimated that a large percentage of asylum applications are fraudulent, these individuals are eligible for work authorization. 


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