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On the July 4, 2010, edition of ABC's This Week, Jorge Ramos -- a prominent news anchor for Univision, the Spanish-language television network -- said that "President Barack Obama has deported more people in his first year in office than George W. Bush in his last year in office."
With immigration policy a hot political topic these days, we thought Ramos' statement was worth checking.
When we contacted Ramos, he said the information had come from the White House. The White House, in turn, referred us to the Department of Homeland Security.
A DHS spokesman provided us with the deportation statistics updated through June 7, 2010, though not all the numbers have been officially released yet. In fiscal year 2008 (which ran from Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2008), there were 369,221 deportations. During fiiscal year 2009 (which ran from Oct. 1, 2008, through Sept. 30, 2009) there were 387,790 deportations.
That's an increase of 18,569 from one year to the next, a jump of about 5 percent. So, using these numbers, Ramos is correct.
It's worth mentioning a few caveats however.
• The fiscal years do not square precisely with presidential years. Fiscal year 2008 was entirely under Bush, while fiscal year 2009 consisted of four months under Bush and eight under Obama. So using the raw fiscal-year figures doesn't quite prove the Bush-Obama comparison.
• It's not clear that Obama policies deserve credit (or blame, depending on your perspective) for any increase in deportations, as Ramos implies. Michelle Mittelstadt, a spokesman for the Migration Policy Institute, said that "deportation numbers have been on a steadily upward trajectory" since 2002, due to a number of policy changes initially undertaken during the Bush administration. Indeed, between 2002 and 2008, deportations rose by 117 percent.
• DHS also provided totals for part of fiscal year 2010 -- the portion from Oct. 1, 2009, through June 7, 2010. That number was 227,163. If you prorate that amount to a full 12 months, you get a full-year total of 330,419 -- which is less than each of the two previous years. However, immigration experts said that deportations are not spaced equally throughout the year, meaning that prorating is not necessarily valid.
In our view, these caveats add a bit of uncertainty to Ramos' otherwise clear comparison. So we rate his statement Mostly True.
Jorge Ramos, comments on ABC's This Week, July 4, 2010
Department of Homeland Security, "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2008" (Table 36: Aliens Removed or Returned: Fiscal Years 1892 to 2008)
E-mail interview with Michelle Mittelstadt, spokeswoman for the Migration Policy Institute, July 6, 2010
E-mail interview with Matthew Chandler, Department of Homeland Security spokesman, July 6, 2010
E-mail interview with Jorge Ramos, news anchor for Univision, July 6, 2010
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