National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


Deportation Numbers Reinforce Need to Reform Immigration Laws

October 18, 2011


Washington, D.C. – Today the Department of Homeland Security released its total for the number of deportations it carried out in Fiscal Year 2011, which ended September 30, 2011.  During this period, 396,000 individuals were removed from the U.S. – the largest number in the agency’s history. Nearly 55 percent had criminal convictions while 45 percent had not been convicted of any crime. Following is a statement from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.


“The Department of Homeland Security touted a record number of deportations in the last fiscal year as progress in its enforcement of our immigration laws. In reality, the numbers highlight a failure of our government to come to grips with our broken immigration system. 


At $23,000 per individual to go through the complete deportation process, immigration enforcement without fixing our broken system is not sustainable. We cannot continue to spend billions of dollars, year after year, while denying we have a more fundamental problem—that our immigration system no longer serves America well.


The announcement came on the same day as two television networks will air separate exposés on the immigration detention system. "Lost in Detention," on PBS’ Frontline, will examine the Obama Administration's expanded immigration enforcement apparatus, including the controversial Secure Communities program and the immigration detention system. CNBC's documentary, "Billions Behind Bars," will examine the multi-billion dollar prison industry, including the white hot growth in profits made from the detention of immigrants. 


The record level of deportations is more than a fiscal black hole for American taxpayers. It is a nightmare for millions of people and their families going about their daily lives and facing the prospect that a simple traffic stop may lead to the breakup of their family and the end of their American Dream.


To remove a record number of these people who have become so important to the economies of hundreds of our communities is not a sign of progress. It is an indicator that our policy makers are too divided to solve our national problems.” 




For more information on the immigration detention system, please read the Forum’s latest report,The Math of Immigration Detention”.

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