On ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington confronted former White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe over the Obama administration’s record on deportation. In the midst of the conversations around the IRS scandal and the Department of Justice going after leaks to journalists, Huffington said there is “a lot of scandal” in the debate over immigration:
HUFFINGTON: It’s what the Obama administration is doing with deportation… More people have been deported over the Obama administration than over the whole two terms of George Bush. And we’ve had, for example, since 2010, 200,000 parents of American citizens being deported for minor offenses. This is a real tragedy. And [if this were] being done under George Bush, Democrats would have been up in arms.
In response, Plouffe told Huffington, “We’re enforcing the law, taking border security seriously. There’s been adjustments. The action on the DREAM Act, those kids should not be sent home. We need a solution.”
Still, Huffington wasn’t satisfied, arguing that administration officials “need to be accountable.” “This goes against what the president professes to believe in,” she said. “Detention and deportation is a nightmare for families. It’s a bit like a gulag.”
Many immigrant parents have been deported during the Obama administration. Between July 2010 and September 2012, 200,000 undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens were deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, accounting for nearly a quarter of all deportations. A new rule issued in January is meant to ease the process for undocumented immigrants who can prove that time away from a family member will cause “extreme hardship” by allowing them to return to the U.S. while applying for legal status. The administration also suspended deportation proceedings against undocumented immigrations who pose no threat to national security or public safety beginning in 2011. Yet if the current rate of deportations continues, 15,000 children are projected to land in foster care as a result of their parents being deported.
Overall, President Obama has overseen record-breaking numbers of deportations, topping 400,000 in 2012 and besting the record of the Bush administration. Those deportations have also come with a high fiscal cost, as the U.S. has spent more on immigration enforcement than on all other federal law enforcement agencies combined.