There's got to be a better way. better.gop

When President Obama announced his unilateral action on immigration in November, he cloaked his decision to ignore the law in the guise of better enforcement through prioritization.

The legality of the president’s action aside, this argument is just more baloney – and data quietly released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the Friday before Christmas prove it. In fiscal year 2014, despite an increase in illegal immigration, deportations were down five percent from the previous year, and those from the interior of the U.S. fell a whopping 24 percent, the administration revealed.

Americans want to see our laws enforced, which is why President Obama bragged about his supposedly tougher approach to enforcement for years. But that was when he had re-election campaigns to run, and it was politically useful to do so.

The reality is that President Obama has consistently played games with these numbers, and that whatever he says about who may or may not qualify for his unilateral amnesty, his administration isn’t enforcing the law and has been purposely failing to do so for quite some time.

The president copped to cooking the books in a September 2011 interview. “The statistics are actually a little deceptive because what we’ve been doing is…apprehending folks at the borders and sending them back. That is counted as a deportation, even though they may have only been held for a day or 48 hours,” he admitted.

Testifying to Congress in March 2014, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson confessed the Obama administration had changed how deportations were counted in order to conceal what The New York Times described as a “pronounced shift away from removals of immigrants living in the interior of the country.”

“If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero — it's just highly unlikely to happen,” a former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Sandweg, told the Los Angeles Times all the way back in April. The paper also reported:

A closer examination [of the Obama administration’s statistics] shows that immigrants living illegally in most of the continental U.S. are less likely to be deported today than before Obama came to office, according to immigration data.

Expulsions of people who are settled and working in the United States have fallen steadily since his first year in office, and are down more than 40% since 2009.

Remember, the president claims this is a byproduct of prioritization. So what about new arrivals? Thousands and thousands of migrants arrived this past summer, overwhelming Border Patrol agents. The Associated Press revealed in September that “about 70 percent of immigrant families the Obama administration had released into the U.S. never showed up weeks later for follow up appointments” with federal immigration agents.

What about dangerous criminals? USA Today reported in October that “New records contradict the Obama administration's assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records. The records … show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.”

This is troubling to say the least – and so is President Obama’s cancellation of the Secure Communities program, which helped to identify illegal immigrants convicted of crimes.

As Speaker Boehner said in August, President Obama is not committed to securing the border, and his policies make it clear that he’s not interested in enforcing the law. “[W]e’ll make a direct challenge to the president’s unilateral actions on immigration. You can expect that challenge to the president to include real action on border security,” the Speaker said last month.

House Republicans began working on this issue then, and that work has been restarted in the new American Congress. At his weekly press briefing today, Speaker Boehner said:

"The House will soon take action aimed at stopping the president’s unilateral action when it comes to immigration. Republicans are in agreement that this is a gravely serious matter. The President’s unilateral actions were an affront to the rule of law and our system of government. The American people don’t support it, and as their representatives, cannot let it stand. I said we’d fight it tooth and nail when we had new majorities in the House and Senate, and I meant it."

As the president’s actions set the stage for another surge of illegal immigration this year, we’ll continue to stand up for the safety and security of American families.