Fox News has resorted to advancing an old falsehood to criticize President Obama's recent immigration policy change, claiming that his administration has failed to enforce immigration laws. In fact, the Obama administration's immigration enforcement policy has been so effective in the last three years that the New York Times recently remarked: "Mr. Obama's record on deportations has not been matched since the 1950s, with nearly 400,000 foreigners removed in each year of his term."
Indeed, during Obama's three years in office, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 1.1 million undocumented immigrants. The annual average number of deportations under Obama is twice the annual average from President Bush's first term, and 30 percent higher than Bush's average when he left office. The removal of undocumented immigrants has steadily risen since Obama took office.
More specifically, deportations of undocumented immigrants who have criminal convictions have risen 89 percent since 2008.
But since Obama announced the immigration policy shift, Fox has conveniently ignored these facts in favor of amplifying the Republican message that under Obama, the United States is "the only country in the world that does not enforce its immigration laws," as Sen. Marco Rubio claimed last night on Fox News' Hannity.
Similarly, while introducing a segment on DHS's immigration policy change, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed that "this administration has chosen unilaterally not to enforce" immigration laws. On America's Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer interviewed Rep. Steve King, who argued that under the Constitution, immigration laws are "not created by the president and not ignored by the president. And he does both of these things." King added: "This Congress cannot tolerate the president manufacturing immigration law. It's one thing to ignore it in individual cases, it's another to set up a policy that they will not enforce the law. That's a violation of his oath of office."
But King is wrong. This policy shift is neither unprecedented nor unconstitutional. And the facts above as well as those for border enforcement belie his accusations.
According to a USA Today analysis, "U.S. border cities were statistically safer on average than other cities in their states." The study credited, among other factors, increased money and agents to the southwestern border. In the last eight years, the number of "boots on the ground" along the Southwest border has risen by almost 85 percent. The increased manpower is in addition to the new technology and screening methods employed under the Obama administration. The result? FBI crime index statistics show that four of the top big cities in America with the lowest rates of violent crime are border states: Phoenix, El Paso, San Diego, and Austin.
Moreover, during the first two and a half years of the Obama administration, Homeland Security "seized 75 percent more currency, 31 percent more drugs, and 64 percent more weapons along the Southwest border as compared to the last two and a half years during the previous Administration."
What's more, attempts by undocumented immigrants to enter the United States have fallen. From 2009 - 2011, these attempts decreased 36 percent. Those that do enter the country illegally are being deported faster than ever before, remaining in the United States an average of 28 days before being deported: