ICE: Deportations Drop 10 Percent

By Peter O'Dowd
December 19, 2013
Peter O'Dowd
Migrants re-enter Guatemala after getting deported from the United States. The number of Central Americans removed from the U.S. is going up.

The number of immigrants deported by the Obama administration decreased last year because the job of kicking people out of the country is taking longer, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

"We did a better job of identifying serious criminal offenders. Those cases take more time," said acting ICE Director John Sandweg.

In fiscal year 2013, ICE deported 368,644 people. Compare that to 2012, when the agency sent home nearly 410,000. About 60 percent of those deported had been convicted of a crime, according to government data.  

Sandweg also said the increasing number of Central American immigrants coming to the United States led to the deportation slow down. Those cases are more complicated, and take more time to process. The number of migrants deported from countries other than Mexico went up 27 percent in 2013, compared to the year before. 

For years now, the agency’s deportation policies have equally angered advocates on both sides — those who say focusing mostly on criminals is tantamount to amnesty for other migrants; and those who say the record number of deportations are hard on families.