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American Immigration Council schedules April 10 briefing on deportation misconceptions

The New York Times and the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University each independently confirmed this week that the largest increases in deportations under President Obama have involved unauthorized immigrants with traffic violations and other minor violations, including convictions related to entering or reentering the country without authorization.

Both of these reports contradict the administration’s claims that the immigration agencies are targeting violent, foreign-born criminals. In reality, according to the Times analysis, “two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases involve people who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all.” In contrast, only “twenty percent—or about 394,000—of the cases involved people convicted of serious crimes, including drug-related offenses, the records show.”

To better understand the numbers and the policies that have gotten us to this point, the American Immigration Council has assembled a panel of experts in immigration law and policy for a telephonic briefing including:

  • Walter Ewing, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council
  • Josiah McC. Heyman, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology and Endowed Professor of Border Trade Issues, University of Texas, El Paso
  • Beth Werlin, Esq., Deputy Director, Legal Action Center at the American Immigration Council
  • Mary Giovagnoli, Esq., Director, Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council (Moderator)

When: Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. EST

RSVP: For dial-in directions, contact Wendy Feliz at [email protected]

Excerpt from New York Times Coverage:

With the Obama administration deporting illegal immigrants at a record pace, the president has said the government is going after “criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they’re trying to figure out how to feed their families.”

But a New York Times analysis of internal government records shows that since President Obama took office, two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases involve people who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all. Twenty percent -- or about 394,000 -- of the cases involved people convicted of serious crimes, including drug-related offenses, the records show.

Excerpt from Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse:

TRAC's analysis of ICE's case-by-case records on deportation shows that in FY 2013 only 12 percent of all deportees had been found to have committed a serious or "Level 1" offense based on the agency's own definitions. These agency definitions were established to identify individuals who pose a serious threat to public safety or national security so that as a first priority it could focus its limited resources on their location and removal. But in stark contrast to these policies, the most serious charge for fully half of the total was an immigration or traffic violation.

More particularly, for almost one quarter (22.7 percent) of those with any conviction at all in FY 2013, the most serious offense was illegal entry (8 USC 1325). This is classified as a petty misdemeanor under the federal criminal code.

The American Immigration Council is located in Washington, DC. The Immigration Policy Center, its research and policy arm, has a mission statement that reads as follows:

IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy in U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC, formed in 2003 is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.

The IPC researches important issues related to immigration (such as the impact of immigration on the economy, jobs and crime). Our work is geared toward providing a solid, fact-based foundation for the immigration debate.

The IPC's work helps to bridge the gap between advocates and academics, policy experts and politicians. Through forums, briefings and special publications, we bring diverse groups together to help shape the immigration debate.

All too often, the debate about immigration is dominated by fear and misinformation. IPC works to make sure that fact is separated from fiction. To do this, we monitor and rapidly respond to statements made by anti-immigration groups, providing lawmakers, the media and the general public with accurate, up-to-date information.


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