Deportation “Quota”—What It Really Means

By Hatty Lee Mar 31, 2010

In a bout of messaging confusion, the Washington Post reported that James M. Chaparro, head of detention and removal operations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced the agency was well on its way to deporting a record 150,000 people with criminal convictions this year—a number he identified as the agency’s deportation “quota”. The problem for ICE is that they previously claimed that they don’t set quotas. In response, ICE Secretary John Morton issued another statement soon after saying, “We are strongly committed to carrying out our priorities to remove serious criminal offenders first and we definitively do not set quotas." Chaparro’s 150,000 "quota" is part of a larger goal he revealed as well: deporting 400,000 people in fiscal year 2010. If ICE deports that many people, the Obama administration will break its own historical record for annual deportations that it set last year.