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Deportations not stopping for illegal immigrants who are not DREAMers

Deportations not stopping for illegal immigrants who are not DREAMers

CREATED Sep. 4, 2012

Reporter: Steve Nuñez

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -  It's now been three weeks since President Obama's policy change went into effect to stop deportations for young illegal immigrants, also known as DREAMers. Critics suggested it would increase the flow of illegal immigration. So, has it?

9 On Your Side asked immigration expert John Messing if it's spurred a rise in more illegal immigrants coming across believing, they too, will be granted some type of immunity.

"Anytime there's an immigration benefit given to any class of persons who came in illegally there is a potential for someone to come in the future to come in illegally and hope for the best," said Messing.

But, so far, Messing said that's not the case.

Messing tells 9 On Your Side he recently attended a meeting in which the U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials confirmed, agents will continue to enforce Operation Streamline to prosecute and deport all illegal immigrants who do not qualify as DREAMers.

"That's a program to arrest and convict people of illegal re-entry so that if they come in again they may spend up to two years in jail.," Said Messing. "I have not seen any deportations halted."

9 On Your Side also did some fact checking. While it's too soon to break out the numbers to detect a trend, developing one way or the other, here's what we do know. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), nationally, the feds have deported nearly 1.5 million illegal immigrants since President Obama took office in 2009. Of those deported, more than 261,000 were from Arizona.
So far this fiscal year, which ends October 31st, the feds have deported 302,478 illegal immigrants. The pacing appears consistent when comparing deportation stats over the previous three years.

Messing said this record-setting number of deportations has sent a clear message south of the border, that the days of catch and release are over. Overall, the numbers paint a picture that points to a drop in the overall number of people coming across illegally.  

"I think this is a highly charged political season and it's good for people not to let their imaginations get too far ahead," said Messing.

In the last ten years, the number of illegal immigrants arrested in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, which stretches along the border from Douglas to Ajo, has dropped from more than 600,000 to just over 200,000.