An analysis of the Obama administration’s deportations of illegal immigrants shows a majority of them have committed only minor crimes, The New York Times reports.
Using government records, the Times compiled the study, which found two-thirds of nearly 2 million deportation cases involved minor violations. Less than a quarter of the cases involved people who were convicted of serious crimes.
The nearly 2 million deportations under President Obama is a record for any presidential administration.
Obama, however, has said the government is deporting ““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,” the Times notes.
Obama last month asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to assess the United States’ deportation programs.
Deportations rose in the final years of the Bush administration, the Times found, and it remained high under Obama. Immigration officials, in fact, set a goal of 400,000 deportations a year.
Immigration reform advocates have also been urging Obama to scale back deportations and to expand the government’s deferred action program.
Under the program, young people who came to the U.S. illegally as children can remain temporarily if they meet a certain set of criteria, such as graduating from high school.