Only a fourth of eligible deportation cases resulted in the immigrant being deported due to a "catch and release" strategy being carried out by immigration agents.
Of the 720,000 cases received by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2013 where deportation was an option, charges were filed in fewer than 195,000 instances, according to a study by the Center for Immigration Studies. Sixty-eight thousand of the cases that were let go involved immigrants with criminal convictions on their records.
The author of the study said that ICE is "releasing more illegal aliens and more criminal aliens than they’re trying to remove."
The numbers come at a time when President Obama and the Democrats are pushing for even fewer deportations, according to the Washington Times.
In meetings with immigrant rights activists this month, Mr. Obama promised to devise more "humane" policies that would carve even more illegal immigrants out of deportation rules.
Democrats, looking to shift the pressure, announced a petition drive last week to try to force House Republicans to bring a broad bill legalizing most illegal immigrants to the chamber floor for a vote.
"The only opposition seems to be among House Republicans," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.