With the Obama administration deporting illegal immigrants at a record pace, the president says the government is going after “criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they're trying to figure out how to feed their families.” A New York Times analysis of government records shows that since Obama took office, two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases involve people who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all.
Twenty percent of the cases involved people convicted of serious crimes, including drug offenses. “It would have been better for the administration to state its enforcement intentions clearly and stand by them, rather than being willing to lean whichever way seemed politically expedient at any given moment,” said David Martin, deputy general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security until December 2010. The Times analysis is based on data covering 3.2 million deportations over 10 years, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The largest increases were in deportations involving illegal immigrants whose most serious offense was listed as a traffic violation, including driving under the influence. Those cases more than quadrupled from 43,000 during the last five years of President George W. Bush's administration to 193,000 during the five years of Obama’s.