COLUMBIA — In 2009, President Barack Obama's administration increased the overall rate of deportation, according to figures from the United States' immigration enforcement agency.
But, according to a New York Times article, this ramped-up deportation isn't occurring indiscriminately. Due to limited resources and changing enforcement priorities, immigration officials are sparing students who came to the United States without papers as children. Enforcement agencies are instead focusing on the deportation of a record number of immigrants convicted of crimes.
"In a world of limited resources, our time is better spent on someone who is here unlawfully and is committing crimes in the neighborhood as opposed to someone who came to this country as a juvenile and spent the vast majority of their life here," said John Morton, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in the article.
According to the article, many of these students have grown up in the United States, often unaware of their illegal status. A bill now before Congress would grant citizenship to more than 700,000 of these minors.
Currently, however, the Department of Homeland Security has no formal policy allowing the students to stay.
Critics of the changing enforcement priorities say officials should pursue all illegal immigrants with the same tenacity. According to The New York Times' article, critics worry selective deportations will weaken overall enforcement against illegal immigration.
Should immigration officials practice selective deportation?