The Obama administration deported a record-low number of criminal immigrants over the last year, according to government figures not publicly released by the Department of Homeland Security.
The Associated Press reported that President Obama has deported fewer immigrants with criminal convictions in the United States over the past 12 months than he has during his entire time in the White House. Moreover, the number of total illegal immigrants deported in the last year was less than at any time since 2006.
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The total count of immigrant deportations has sunk 42 percent since 2012. Moreover, deportations declined by 84,000 between the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years.
In sum, 231,000 immigrants were deported in the last year, 59 percent of which–or 136,700–were immigrants convicted of crimes. The figure does not include immigrants caught immediately at the U.S. southern border with Mexico and sent home by Border Patrol agents.
Criminal deportations have slowed despite Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s promise to focus on deporting immigrants posing threats to national security or public safety or those with criminal convictions.
The Homeland Security figures span the period between Oct. 1 and Sept. 28, 2014, and include the numbers of immigrants deported in each month. They come at a time of heightened debate over illegal immigration and whether "sanctuary cities" should be punished for protecting illegal immigrants.
Though a majority of voters say they support the Justice Department taking legal action against cities providing sanctuary to illegals, Obama has pledged to veto legislation that would cut off funds from cities helping illegal immigrants.
At the end of August, 244 immigrants with criminal records were arrested in Southern California, home to multiple sanctuary cities, during a four-day sweep by federal immigration officials. The majority of those apprehended had convictions for violent felonies, weapons charges, or sex abuse charges.
The high number, officials said, indicates flawed immigration policies.