Last year America removed 369,000 undocumented migrants, an increase of nine times compared with 20 years ago (see chart 1). This takes the total number of the deported to almost 2m in Barack Obama’s presidency.
The Economist points out that President Obama claims that he has no control over this because it is a result of changes authorized by Congress in 1996:
..."when a Republican-controlled Congress passed a tough immigration law and illegal border crossings were running at four times their current level. especially in the wake of 9/11. The effects of this change in the law were limited at first. The year after it passed 115,000 people were deported. This is because the means to enforce it were not available. That changed after the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks when, by an odd jump of logic, a mass murder committed by mostly Saudi terrorists resulted in an almost limitless amount of money being made available for the deportation of Mexican house-painters. America now spends more money on immigration enforcement than on all the other main federal law-enforcement agencies combined.It is, however, disingenuous of the President to suggest that he has no control over this, when in fact he has put it out there that he intends to take whatever executive actions he can in order to get around a dysfunctional Congress. And, as Gail Collins noted today in her column in the New York Times, House Republicans therefore don't trust him to follow the law, anyway, and that is why they now say they won't support the more humane immigration reform already passed by the Senate. In the meantime, millions of lives are being turned upside down with no obvious benefit to anyone or anything.