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Until recent years, most people caught illegally crossing the southern border were simply bused back into Mexico in what officials called “voluntary returns,” but which critics derisively termed “catch and release.” Those removals, which during the 1990s reached more 1 million a year, were not counted in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s deportation statistics. The policy stemmed in part from a desire to ensure that people who had crossed into the country illegally would have formal charges on their records. According to the non-profit immigrant advocacy group American Immigration Council, the trend in growing deportation numbers long preceded Barack Obama’s presidency: The federal government has, for nearly two decades, been pursuing an enforcement-first approach to immigration control that favors mandatory detention and deportation over the traditional discretion of a judge to consider the unique circumstances of every case.
Now, the vast majority of border crossers who are apprehended get fingerprinted and formally deported. In the Obama years, all of the increase in deportations has involved people picked up within 100 miles of the border, most of whom [had] just recently crossed over. The end result has been a relentless campaign of imprisonment and expulsion aimed at noncitizens — a campaign authorized by Congress and implemented by the executive branch.
The vast majority of those border crossers would not have been treated as formal deportations under most previous administrations.
If all removals were tallied, the total sent back to Mexico each year would have been far higher under those previous administrations than it is now.
Meanwhile, the number of deportations carried out by U. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which deports people caught both at the border and the interior of the country, fell in 2013 compared with 2012.
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The Border Patrol’s budget has expanded from .9 billion 2003 to .9 billion in 2013, while ICE’s grew from .3 billion to .9 billion.
As of 2013, the two agencies had a total budget of nearly billion, and that number increased to nearly billion in 2016.
The program uses biometric data to screen for deportable immigrants as people are being booked into jails.
Under Secure Communities, an arrestee’s fingerprints are run not only against criminal databases, but immigration databases as well.
Another factor for the increase in deportations during Obama’s terms comes from legislation that has become known as a “bed mandate” or “bed quota:” The bed quota requires U. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold an average of 34,000 individuals in detention on a daily basis.