Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) made a false statement about the state of deportations during a Senate floor debate on immigration reform on Friday. In the midst of a rant against “amnesty,” he said that “virtually nobody is getting deported.” In fact, there are a record-breaking number of deportations every year.
Sessions made the claim while addressing “prosecutorial discretion,” which gives Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents the discretion to decide when to detain and deport non-criminal immigrants. Though over 400,000 immigrants, who are not all criminals, were deported in 2012 alone, Sessions stated that law enforcement are unable to deport anyone, even if they know about the individual’s undocumented status:
We’re at a condition today where nobody is being deported. If you asked your law officers in whatever city and county you’re in — and this has been going on since before President Obama took office — you ask them what happens if they catch somebody that was speeding in their town, in Alabama or Indiana or Colorado, and they discover they’re here illegally, what happens? Isn’t this a fundamental question? Well, what happens is they turn them loose. You ask them, your law officers because nobody will come and get them. The federal government is — reached a point now where virtually no one is being deported except those convicted of serious crimes.
The Obama administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than the Bush administration.