BY ATTORNEY JAMES A. WELCOME
The number of non-U.S. Citizens removed from the United States dropped in 2013 from the all-time high of nearly 410,000 in 2012. This number has meaning for people on both sides of the debate about immigration reform.
First, in pure number form, Homeland Security is deporting approximately 1,013 aliens per day. In very rare occasions, the government allows for a person accepting his or her voluntary return to purchase a plane ticket. But this is extremely rare. So, the government is spending millions and millions of dollars to deport people from the United States every year. If these people have children, the unforeseen costs of government support and health care continue to add up for the children left behind.
In a press release issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Acting Director of the Agency concedes that this number contains both criminal aliens and people with no criminal record in the United States. Why this number is still so high when policies have been adopted by the Department of Homeland Security to allow employees of DHS to exercise prosecutorial discretion is unclear. Other lesser known recent policy changes, including protection for parents of children born in the United States from deportation appear to have been all but ignored by DHS employees.
At the same time, the drop in deportations of nearly 50,000 immigrants from one year ago is concerning to those who feel that the President and DHS are beginning to stop enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws. This is an example of what the current Republican Party in Congress means when they feel that they cannot trust President Obama to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. Both parties agree for the need for increased border security and monitoring.
A compelling argument has to do with the economic impact of immigration reform and the positive effect this reform could have on the economy when people are allowed to live and work legally and pay taxes. A large percentage of U.S. Citizen children of undocumented immigrants avail themselves government food stamps and state health insurance. Immigration reform could provide a way to have more families participate in the economy, pay sales tax, pay income taxes and rely less on government services in the future.
Here is a link to a recent article discussing the opinions in the current debate about the proposals for reforming the nation’s immigration laws. Tell me what you think: