October 2, 2014

U.S. deportations of immigrants reach record high in 2013

Deportations in FY 2013

The Obama administration deported a record 438,421 unauthorized immigrants in fiscal year 2013, continuing a streak of stepped up enforcement that has resulted in more than 2 million deportations since Obama took office, newly released Department of Homeland Security data show.

President Obama today is scheduled to address members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a group that has recently criticized the president on immigration. Last month, the caucus urged the president to take executive action on immigration by extending deportation relief to certain groups of unauthorized immigrants, such as parents of U.S.-born children. Some immigrant advocates have dubbed Obama the “deporter in chief” over the fact that his administration has deported about as many immigrants in five years as the George W. Bush administration deported in eight years.

During his speech, Obama is expected to reiterate his pledge to make changes to immigration policy on his own, something he said he will do after the November midterm elections. 

The record number of deportations comes even as 580,946 young unauthorized immigrants have received relief from deportation and work permits since 2012 under a policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

In Pew Research Center surveys, Hispanics have expressed disapproval of the growing number of deportations during the Obama administration. Six-in-ten Hispanic adults in February said the increased number of deportations of unauthorized immigrants is a “bad thing,” while the U.S. general public was divided on the issue. And while 89% of Hispanics in 2013 said they support a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who meet certain requirements, a majority (55%) said deportation relief is more important than a pathway to citizenship for this population.

Most of the growth in the number of deported immigrants has come from those deported for reasons other than a criminal conviction. In 2013, 240,000 deported immigrants did not have a previous criminal conviction, up from 218,000 in 2012. Meanwhile, the number of deportations of those with a criminal conviction has stalled at around 200,000 for the past two fiscal years.

One distinct feature of the record number of deportations is the increasing share of deportations by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after border apprehension. In 2013, 25% of all deportations were carried out by the agency, up from 17% in 2012. Meanwhile, the number of deportations carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which deports people caught both at the border and the interior of the country, fell in 2013 compared with 2012.

Another change is that in 2013, a record 363,000 (83%) of deportations were carried out without appearing before a judge – either through an order issued by an enforcement agent (called expedited removal) or by using a previous order of deportation (called reinstatement of final orders). This is due to a 2005 shift in policy that has increased the likelihood of being deported after apprehension.

This rise in the number of deportations also coincides with stalled growth of the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population since 2009, and a more recent rise in the number of apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2013, there were 414,000 apprehensions at the southwest border, a rise of 27% over 2011 (the most recent low in apprehensions).

Also, a new shift in migration patterns emerged over the last two years: more Central American immigrants and unaccompanied children crossing the border. These trends have led to an increase in apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border. On the other hand, the number of Mexican immigrants apprehended at the border and the interior has continued to decline from a high of 1.1 million in 2005 to 425,000 in 2013.

Topics: Immigration, Unauthorized Immigration, Hispanic/Latino Demographics

  1. Photo of Ana Gonzalez-Barrera

    is a senior researcher focusing on Hispanics, immigration and demographics at Pew Research Center.

  2. Photo of Jens Manuel Krogstad

    is a writer/editor focusing on Hispanics, immigration and demographics at Pew Research Center.


  1. Anonymous1 year ago

    The real statistic and the only one that should matter is how many illegal immigrants enter the USA each year and are NOT deported?
    meaning, the numbers of immigrants who did not enter through a legal border crossing, (i.e. documented vs undocumented) is greater under Obama than under Bush.
    in other words, illegal immigration population is growing not shrinking (as Obama seems to be implying when he celebrates these stats shown in this article).
    When you release a stat that implies the opposite of what the true outcome is, that is called SPIN….and it would be really nice to get the bottom line truth from our politicians and our media instead of Statistics like this.

  2. Anonymous1 year ago

    Not in GA.

  3. TheRastachick12 years ago

    Interesting to my knowledge the USA has both northern and southern borders. Why is it that people assume the undocumented are just from Mexico. There are just as many undocumented from Canada, Haiti and Asia.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      To my knowledge few Canadians are looking to immigrate to the us

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      just as many from Canada, Haiti and Asia?
      This is pure nonsense.

  4. Craig Corbin2 years ago

    Ok here’s the the Truth. The Obama administration has changed the standards of deportation. Now if Illegals are detained and questioned at the border and it comes back their illegal not to cross into America. Their immediately shipped back to Mexico before ever gaining entry. Nice try on the lie. The borders are NOT safer , nor is the rate of deportation higher under the Obama administration.

    1. Jeff Korenak1 year ago

      Yes. And thru an executive order the Dictator in Chief has ordered Pew Research to post these findings. It is all part of the Evil plan to rule the world!

  5. Anthony2 years ago

    Has anyone in the immigration data studied the shadow entities behind illegal migration worldwide? Look what’s happening in Europe! It is astounding! Unprecedented migration that overwhelms European countries.
    To be sure, if U.S. is not taking steps to secure its borders in a more meaningful ways, it is not impossible to see the type of Islamic migrants influx into U.S. Who can apprehend the economic consequences posed to our children and millions of grandchildren already breathing American air?
    In another video (see below), a top islamic immam is threatening the entire European continent with migratory and military consequences! An incredible video. Must see item:

  6. Robert Rodriguez2 years ago

    According to official records, the Obama Administration has deported more illegal immigrants than the Bush administration. Why then does Republicans criticize Obama for being too lenient?
    Did the two brothers that kill all those people in the Boston Marathon come from Mexico?
    Did the Russian, Dominican, Vietnamese, Italian, Mafias, and others come from Mexico?
    Are Americans still yelling “Remember the Alamo”?
    Let’s build that wall, build it to cover both southern and northern borders.

  7. Steve Cunningham2 years ago

    Why didn’t you post the number of actual illegal alien crossings. The number of deportations means nothing without knowing the number of illegals crossings. If the number of crossing also went up then the number of deportations should also have gone up. In that case the number would not mean much and would not show anything about what the Obama admin has done to increase the deportations other then respond to the mass influx. However, if the number of illegal crossings were doubled or even tripled then the number of deportations would be mute if not also doubled or tripled in numbers too. It’s a very important data entry that needs to be done here to accurately measure if the numbers of deportation is actually good or not so good.

  8. howitgoes2 years ago

    Long, long ago illegals crossed at border crossings; then there was Operation Wetback, and after that things changed. Illegals started to cross at random places, and headed for metropolitan areas; many died crossing desert areas. Human traffickers organized and drove illegals to distribution centers like Phoenix after the illegals got far enough north of the Border Patrols. Now, the illegals cross into the U.S.; wait for the Border Patrol to find them; take them to detention where they’re processed, (registered for welfare, etc,) and released. After that it’s catch and release and even if they’re deported, they just come back, over and over…including the criminals. Pardon me if I opine that this country is an asylum being run by the insane.

  9. It’s Obvious2 years ago

    Oh dear. Republicans don’t like the numbers so they must be false. Same applies to Obamacare. Who could possibly believe that this is one of the best Presidents in history.

    1. Chaz2 years ago

      This is a flaw in the statistics. It says: 240 NON-CRIMINALS and 198 CRIMINALS.
      That 240 statistic is flawed. It is due to the fact that it says NON-CRIMINALS. They are ILLEGAL ALIENS, thus the statistic should be 438 CRIMINALS.

      1. James James2 years ago

        Good point.

  10. Virginia Downs2 years ago

    I don’t believe these numbers. Even if they were true, Obama has thrown open our doors, allowing unlimited illegal crossing at our borders. He’s even allowed Homeland Security buses to bring in illegals from north Africa into California via the Mexican border. He then housed them in Victorville CA in apartments especially built and called “Detention Centers”. They were there for several months before recently being released. So, for sure, any deportations have been far out-weighed by illegal immigrants.

    1. Alissa2 years ago

      Immigration tp the united states has gone DOWN since the last economic crash and it is STILL going down

  11. Rich B2 years ago

    Incredibly deceptive numbers by the Obama administration. They are counting those turned away at the border to pad their statistics. Ask how many were deported from NJ or Kansas? Just crickets about those numbers. Tired of the complicit liberal press backing Obama with lies manipulating the sheep.

    1. Jack2 years ago

      Oh boo hoo. The numbers are what they are. And BTW, if you Google “net immigration from Mexico is zero” you will find the Politifact page that confirms it.

      1. James James2 years ago

        Politifact is non-partisan? Hah hah hah.

    2. James James2 years ago

      I have heard that as well. What else do you expect from the lying, do-anything-to-win, America hating liberals and democrats?

      1. Doug Hamilton1 year ago

        According to your hyper partisan logic, all that needs to happen is for there to be a conservative/Republican President, House and Senate and they will immediately handle the issue.

        Except this exact thing happened under Bush, and he did nothing but kick the can down the road.

        And do you know why? Right now, the biggest lobbyists against stricter immigration rules belong to Big AG. They don’t want their supply of cheap, expendable labor interrupted.

        May I remind you, Big AG is not generally owned by liberal Democrats. You are mad at the wrong people.

  12. Mike W2 years ago

    There is an easy way to Fix this issue. Any business that hires illegals should be fined heavily for each illegal working. It would put small and medium businesses out of business or hurt them. This would also reward legal migrants who lawfully entered this country with those jobs. Also, if you do t hold an ID card that is issued When legally entering, you can be issued drivers license, get entitlements or assistance, can’t enroll in schools!

    Problem fixed!!! Those who flow the law are treated to the American Dream, law breakers are deported! We are broke, our hospitals are over run, schools and jails are bursting at the seams, and we are BROKE! We cannot afford it.

    Above all, it is a major Security risk! Lock the Border down before we get bombed with a dirty bomb or anthrax or other WMD!!!

  13. Stormy Hurne2 years ago

    because now the administration is counting turn arounds at the border. Before they used to count only interior deportations.

  14. Frank2 years ago

    I bet you’ll see that with the increased deportations you’ll find increased illegal immigration as well, but they’re not going to publish that!

    1. phlypp2 years ago

      Actually, the exact opposite. Illegal immigration has decreased significantly ever since George Bush ruined the economy in this country. However, now that President Obama is fixing that again, they may start increasing. Much of this immigration is due to the violent crime in Mexico which is created by…..Americans supporting the cartels via drugs. Legalize marijuana, put the money into our own coffers rather than the cartels, decrease the wealth and power of the cartels and you may see more citizens preferring to stay where they are.

  15. Michael Lawson2 years ago

    Changing the way these apprehensions and deportations are reported does not mean that he is deporting more people. This administration changes everything to fit their narrative since coming into office.

  16. Lucho2 years ago

    I think we should do e-verify. And fine company’s that hire them.

  17. jeb Bashaw2 years ago

    Here is the government report: The Obama changed the definition of deportation thereby inflating the numbers.

    In FY 2014:

    ICE conducted 315,943 removals.
    ICE conducted 102,224 removals of individuals apprehended in the interior of the United States.
    86,923 (85 percent) of all interior removals involved individuals previously convicted of a crime.
    ICE conducted 213,719 removals of individuals apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States. 4

  18. Johana2 years ago

    Ohh ohhh I loved this article. You “americans” have to apply this to the situation of ilegals haitians in Dominican Republic. I hope Bill De Blasio read this.

  19. Thomas Berthiaume2 years ago

    Those stats are false. The Obama administration changed the definition of “deportation” to include anyone who is stopped at the border ever before entering the country. The administration can put up any false numbers it likes. We know the difference.

    1. Dominican2 years ago

      They were detained and returned? What is the difference?

  20. Deborah Livingston2 years ago

    what part of the word Illegal is not understood!

  21. RK NINE2 years ago

    We are *not* responsible in keeping foreign families together. Our Veterans and our economy comes first.

    1. madalon2 years ago

      I agree. These folks made a choice they KNEW was illegal and carried a level of risk. They should now have to make another choice…..when they are deported (as they should be) decide whether to 1) take their U.S. born children home with them until they are old enough to return alone, or until the mom can apply for and wait her turn for legal entry or 2)Leave them with trusted friends or relatives. These were planned, calculated decisions and I should not have to pay for them in any way, shape, or form!!!!

  22. Bee Cee2 years ago

    If the Obama administration reported deportations, it’s more than likely NOT true. We all know this.

    1. Marion2 years ago

      Bee Cee….speak for yourself. “we” don’t all “know this”. How dare you make such a claim?

        1. James James2 years ago

          LA Times, confirming basically everything those ‘lying’, ‘childish’ conservatives have been saying on this comment section. How looks childish and mislead now?

  23. Elizabeth2 years ago

    I really love your company!
    It’s so refreshing to have research that’s not slanted.
    Keep up the good work! ♡

  24. cherry3 years ago

    peaCE EQUALS HAPPINESS, it also means freedom so yeah!

  25. Robert3 years ago

    As I have mentioned, ICE/DHS should implement what the late President Kennedy did in the 1960’s civil rights movement – which was to mobilize the GUARD & RESERVES to aid the ‘agents’ with the identity, location, arrest and deportation of these foreign criminals. Keep in mind, there are millions of foreigners who have applied for American status, the legal way, and are still patiently waiting. It is a “slap-in the-face” to allow those who “jumped the line”.

    1. Kathy meyers3 years ago

      Accurately presented

  26. Tony Starks3 years ago

    The law streamlining the legal removal (or what most people think of as deportations) was changed in 2005. Bush’s 2006 and 2007 deportation numbers grew greatly from the same change in definitions and the streamlining of the process that allowed immigration judges to hear dozen of cases at the same time. The criticisisms that everyone is lobbying at Obama are equally true of Bush during his last two years in office, his administration counted things the exact same way.The law changing the process, streamlining the process and letting the numbers be counted this way passed while Bush was President. If you really feel you are being lied to and/or the numbers manipulated, the lies and manipulation started with Bush the younger, it was his idea. Obama just ran with what was already there.

    1. Chance2 years ago

      always an excuse

      1. PewFan2 years ago

        @Chance — that’s no excuse. That’s an accurate telling. What do you disagree with in that representation?

  27. Pat Weiss3 years ago

    False. They are including ‘turnarounds’ at the border as ‘deportations’. Previously deportation was defined as removal from the internal part of the U.S. only. How can you deport someone who never made it into the country. Another Washington lie!

  28. James Wood3 years ago

    What a joke. Anyone can put together graphs. Do you know what Obama calls a deportation today? Anyone who is refused entry into the US. That’s where these numbers come from. There’s been no mass exodus via the US Govt. of illegals. Pure crap. Obama just released back into US society over 65,000 felons this year. He didn’t deport a one of them. Anything Obama states needs real scrutiny. Where’s the list of all these people? How many Muslims have entered into the US in the past 6 years? You don’t know, Obama doesn’t care. Well he cares as far as the more Muslims the better, he thinks. Just on the opposite side of truth. So anyone stating numbers best have the list, If you can’t name the people and where they were living and where they were sent to guess what, then they don’t exist.

    1. Jack2 years ago

      LOL! Very nice. You should write for The Onion.

  29. Kevin O’Brien3 years ago

    This article is misleading, and actually incorrect. The Obama administration changed the definition of “deportation” to include anyone turned around at the border and sent back into Mexico. These people were not counted before the Obama administration as “deported”. Comparing current figures to past figures is comparing apples to oranges. Dishonest and purposefully misleading really.

    1. James Wood3 years ago

      Thank you Kevin for pointing out that little fact. Too bad the President never includes that in his speeches. He just released over 65,000 illegal prisoners, felons, murderers, rapists, etc back into US society. I heard Holder swear before Congress that only the minor infraction prisoner’s would be released. And why just release them, why not send them home no matter what their crime was. He hasn’t deported shit. Everything this man says needs to be fully scrutinized. He needs to go.

  30. Claudia Splick Larson3 years ago

    I think the people have spoken. The Central American fiasco where Obama thought he would PLAY the heart strings of the US tax payers BACKFIRED and they shot themselves in the foot. This was the poll concerning that:

    Only 27% said an increase in violent crime in Central America is the reason for the recent wave of unaccompanied children coming to the border, while 58% said the belief that the American government will grant amnesty to undocumented children is causing the crisis. huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/16/im…

    You can only fool some of the people some of the time.

    Poll: 77% of Americans want illegal aliens sent home

    77% said they want the illegals returned americanthinker.com/blog/2014/07…
    77% want illegals sent home

    77% of Americans – including 86% of Republicans – believe undocumented immigrants threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs, according to the poll

    Polls: thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/i…

    1. Kathy meyers3 years ago

      99% of those ” CHILDREN ” are under 15 years of age bringing their children here! Not their sisters or brothers. Scammed
      AGAIN. …

  31. Kim Williams3 years ago

    It only stands to reason that deportations would go up if the number of illegals coming to America is going UP.
    “On the other hand, the number of Mexican immigrants apprehended at the border and the interior has continued to decline from a high of 1.1 million in 2005 to 425,000 in 2013.”
    The Obama Administration counts people who are turned away at the border in his numbers. This is something other administrations have not done. So it’s just another illusion. That’s how there is a “record number” of deportations of ” 438,421 unauthorized immigrants in fiscal year 2013″ can be considered a “record” when in 2005, it was 1.1 million. It all depends on what they count. This administration and the media are liars and cheats and do anything they can to create the ILLUSION that this piece of garbage in the White House is actually doing anything that resembles ‘his job’.

    1. Trish2 years ago

      Actually, it was the Bush administration who changed the definition of deportations and started including those caught and turned back at the border. So, yeah, an other administration has done EXACTLY that. Which is why his numbers went up so starkly his last two years in office. As you yourself pointed out, illegal immigration has been steadily going down for a decade…

  32. jasona3 years ago

    This is a lie, they changed the way that they count the numbers to make it look like deportations are going up, they are absolutely no going up.

  33. Michael3 years ago

    Sure the numbers are up. Look at how many additional have been apprehended at borders! If only a fraction are caught the number of deported and illegally in the country are increasing daily. It’s amazing that the administration would react to any special interest group. It’s like asking car thieves to rewrite the laws concerning punishment for that crime. Yet time and again this administration ignores its oath to protect America and its Constitution and yields to public pressure. Obama has already been corrected by the Supreme Court for taking on to himself powers that belong to Congress. I guess immigration will be the next one. This is a nation of laws, not men. Someone said that once. If only this administration understood that fact. How much more must America endure? What evils will this man unleash on the country if his party loses power? We’ve felt the impact of his imposition of his ideals, I suppose we will feel his wrath if defeated? Let’s enforce the law of the land and deport those who are here illegally.

  34. Pav Sterry3 years ago

    Wasn’t the definition of deportation changed under Obama’s administration? What use to be called a return, those who just crossed, were not counted as deportations now they are.

    Alan Gomez, USA TODAY Obama deporter in chief? Not quite usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2…
    fact is this: The number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. deported by the Obama administration has fallen in each year he’s been in office.

    Deporter in chief? Far from it.
    In Obama’s first year in office, his administration deported 237,941 people. That number represents the traditional definition of a deportation: someone living their life in the U.S. when they encounter a law enforcement officer who has them shipped out of the country.

    By last year, that number had fallen to 133,551. And of those, 71,938 had been previously convicted of at least one felony or several misdemeanors – the “criminal aliens” that the administration has targeted. That means of the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the country, fewer than 70,000 who have led generally peaceful lives here were deported last year.

    1. Ana Gonzalez3 years ago

      Hello Pav!
      In this blog post we use the term deportation, as it is a more familiar term to the public. However, the formal definition of deportation was actually deleted with the passing of the 1996 reform to the Immigration and Naturalization Act. What was formerly known as deportations were replaced by what is now called removals. A removal comprises four types of enforcement actions: a formal removal issued by an immigration judge (much closer to the former deportation figure), an expedited removal (issued by an enforcement agent, in this case ICE or CBP), a reinstatement of a prior order of removal (also issued by an enforcement agent), and an and administrative removal, which is issued to immigrants convicted of an aggravated felony.
      It is true there have been some changes to the way enforcement policy in regards to removals has been carried out in recent years. Since 2005, CBP started issuing removal orders to border-crossers to increase the deterrence power of their enforcement actions. At that time, CBP also started referring more border-crossers to ICE, which carries out the majority of the removals from the interior and the border. These changes in enforcement, along with other programs carried out in the interior, have dramatically increased the number of deportations since 2005.
      I would however avoid equating the current removals with the former voluntary returns for two reasons. First, an immigrant who is issued an order of removal or deportation is barred from legally entering the U.S. for a number of years. If caught crossing the border he or she will be criminally charged with illegal reentry and may spend time in jail before being removed from the U.S. again. Second, not all immigrants apprehended at the border are recent newcomers, some of them are trying to re-enter illegally at the border after having been deported or removed from the interior.

      1. Michael3 years ago

        You can argue semantics, but the bottom line is the same. This administration is not enforcing the letter or the spirit of the law to remove illegal immigrants. It’s time that they did. Suggesting that by a different definition they are acting appropriately is akin to saying “I did not have sexual relations with that girl”. Some people practice avoiding the truth.

      2. Tim3 years ago

        Let me make sure I understand this: People were previously stopped at the border and turned back by the Border Patrol without any contact with ICE, but now that same population IS being transferred to ICE so you’re counting it as deportation. Similarly, the BP has started issuing removal orders, making “deportations” appear to go up.

        Is this correct? If so what percentage of this uptick is the result of changes to how people caught at the border are counted?

        Finally, what about deportations from the interior? Taking border arrests/removals out of the equation, are interior deportations going up or down?



        1. Sarah3 years ago

          I think the key thing in Ana’s rebuttal is the word “2005”. This is not an Obama “reclassification”. It’s a change in enforcement process that predates his administration.

          1. Josh3 years ago

            Nope, it’s a reclassification by the Obama administration which Obama has himself explained:

            “The statistics are actually a little deceptive because what we’ve been doing is, with the stronger border enforcement, we’ve been 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, sent back – that’s counted as a deportation. ”

            Previously those were not counted as a “deportation”. So the “deceptive” numbers appear to be going up, but the long-understood definition of deportation — people removed from the interior of the country — if looked at the way we always have, it’s clear the numbers are actually going down. The Obama admin has decided to only deport “the worst of the worst” and since most illegal immigrants aren’t murderers, most get a pass.

            Obama’s USCIS chief told the LA Times this very thing: “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.”