Just One in Six Deportations Cancelled in Obama’s Pilot Review

The pilot deportation review Obama ordered last year in Denver is done. 7,900 cases reviewed, and 1,300 people had their deportation cases dropped.

By Jorge Rivas Jan 20, 2012

A review ordered by the Obama administration of almost 7,900 deportation cases before the immigration court in Colorado found 1,300 immigrants — 16 percent — posed no security risk and will be allowed to remain in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security plans to extend the reviews in the coming months to all of about 300,000 deportation cases before the courts nationwide.

The New York TImes provides more background:

The court review is part of a broad effort by the administration, as President Obama heads into his re-election campaign, to ease the impact of enforcement on immigrant and Latino communities by stopping some deportations while also reducing huge backlogs swamping the immigration courts. Based on an early projection of results from pilot projects here and in Baltimore, as many as 39,000 immigrants across the country could see their deportation cases closed.

Colorlines.com’s immigration reporter Julianne Hing said many immigrant rights groups are disappointed that more deportation cases were not canceled under the review, but "the Obama administration chose to be very conservative here."

Hing also said it’s worth paying attention to the fact that "the Obama administration’s definition of who presents no security threat to the U.S. and therefore should be allowed to stay in the country, is very controversial." According to the NY Times, even those with no criminal record were denied. The Obama administration’s definition of who, then, constitutes a high priority for removal, is a very wide swath of the undocumented immigrant population.

"The Obama administration announced the deportation review last year, frankly, as a way to appease Latino voters," Hing added.

"It’s one of a handful of small administrative things they’re doing here and there to help immigrants, but the fact is the Obama administration is still also committed to an aggressive deportation agenda," Hing went on to say.