Deportation and immigration have been hot issues in the United States as the race for the 2016 presidency continues to heat up, in no small part because of Donald Trump's insistence that he would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected president. When it comes to deporting illegal immigrants, certainly there's a massive gray area as to what's appropriate given an immigrant's net effect on jobs, the economy, their own family, etc. Despite coming under fire for its policies, though, the Obama administration deported fewer immigrants in the last 12 months than at any time since 2006.
Obama has been blasted by conservatives such as Trump who think his policies aren't harsh enough and liberals such as presidential nominee Hillary Clinton who think they're too harsh. He has actually pledged to focus on finding and deporting criminals living in the country illegally, but now the numbers reflecting that initiative have fallen to their lowest since he took office in 2009.
About 11 million immigrants are estimated to be living in the U.S. illegally and Obama has overseen the removal of 2.4 million in that category since he became president. Removals are reported to have been declining steadily in the past few years — between 2014 and 2015, the figures dropped 84,000, and total deportations have dropped 42 percent since 2012.
Although much of the conversation around illegal immigration centers on Mexico, more than 257,000 immigrants from countries other than Mexico were stopped at the border during the 2014 budget year, which was the first time that immigrants from other countries outnumbered those from Mexico. It may not change Trump's opinion on his proposed wall, but it's a revealing fact nonetheless.
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