Interior deportations down, at a 9-year low, border group says

The National Border Patrol Council is speaking out against Hillary Clinton’s immigration plan, arguing it’s dangerous for all American families.

The group says her stance on immigration expands policies under President Barack Obama that have created an "era of no consequences." Obama’s policies have decimated border security, the council says.

"For seven years, the president’s marketers sold him as the ‘Deporter in Chief.’ There was no truth behind that marketing campaign," the group said in a statement published July 28, coinciding with the last day of the Democratic National Convention. "The truth is that those living in the U.S. illegally were less likely to be deported than under any previous administration. Interior deportations under Obama were down 40 percent and at a nine-year low."

The line about interior deportations under Obama sliding 40 percent and reaching nine-year lows piqued our interest. The National Border Patrol Council did not respond to our requests for information on the data behind that statement. Donald Trump’s campaign posted on its website the council’s statement, but they did not respond for comments either.

The National Border Patrol Council identifies as the official group representing 16,500 border patrol agents. It endorsed Donald Trump for president in March, saying it was the first time ever it endorsed a presidential candidate in the primaries.

ICE immigration removals declining

The Department of Homeland Security agencies include U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which handles naturalization and permanent residency applications, among other things.

ICE guided us to the agency’s most recent statistical report on immigration removals.

ICE says that in fiscal year 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015) the agency began implementing the Obama administration’s "clearer and more refined" civil immigration enforcement priorities, with emphasis on the removal of convicted felons over non-criminals.

As a result, there were fewer removals in fiscal 2015 (235,413) than in fiscal 2014 (315,943), ICE said.

That’s a single-year decrease of 25.5 percent.

‘Down 40 percent and at a nine-year low’

The National Border Patrol Council’s statement said "interior deportations under Obama were down 40 percent and at a nine-year low."

ICE’s fiscal 2015 immigration removals report distinguishes between interior and border removals.

Interior removals account for individuals "identified or apprehended in the United States by an ICE officer or agent." These can include apprehensions from jails or elsewhere inside the country, immigration experts say.

Border removals, meanwhile, refers to individuals removed by ICE who were "apprehended by a CBP officer or agent while attempting to illicitly enter the United States at or between the ports of entry." ICE says those individuals are also referred to as recent border crossers. These CBP apprehensions at or between ports of entry are then handled by ICE.

Interior removals declined about 71 percent from 237,941 in fiscal 2009 (the first year Obama entered office), to 69,478 in fiscal 2015, based on ICE data.

And interior removals in fiscal 2015 were the lowest over the eight fiscal years noted in the ICE report.

We don’t have data before fiscal year 2008, according to Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit think tank founded by Democratic and Republican senators that has researched the removal data.

So it’s difficult to determine if interior deportations are at a 9-year low. But certainly interior deportations have dropped significantly.

Immigration policy analysts have told us that interior deportations have decreased under Obama due to the administration’s priority on border apprehensions and on removing undocumented immigrants who pose threats to public safety.

Our ruling

The National Border Patrol Council said in a statement that "interior deportations under Obama were down 40 percent and at a nine-year low."

The group did not return requests for comment, but we found ICE data that references "interior" and "border" removals. Using that data, there isn’t a 40 percent drop -- actually it's about 71 percent. Reports say interior or border removal data wasn’t broken down that way before fiscal 2008, so there isn’t a way to measure the 9-year low, though fiscal 2015 interior removals do represent an 8-year low.

We rate the statement Mostly True.

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