DeSantis: Trump deported fewer illegal migrants than Obama

 January 6, 2024

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently made a bold claim about his potential presidency's effectiveness in deporting noncitizens.

DeSantis has declared that, if elected, he would surpass former President Donald Trump in deporting individuals residing illegally in the U.S., and highlighted the fact that Democrat President Barack Obama even managed to deport more than Trump. 

On January 2, during a town hall event organized by Gray Television, DeSantis outlined his immigration enforcement plans. He compared his prospective strategies to those of Trump's administration, aiming to highlight his approach's potential efficacy. This comparison drew attention due to Trump's 2016 campaign promises to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, a promise largely unfulfilled during his term.

Comparing Presidential Deportation Records

DeSantis's statements included a notable comparison of deportation numbers between the Trump and Obama administrations. It's a comparison that, surprisingly, contradicts common perceptions about both presidencies' immigration policies.

"Trump promised the largest deportations in history," DeSantis said. "He deported less, believe it or not, than Barack Obama even did." This statement challenges the widely held view of Trump as a strict enforcer of immigration policies.

Deportations under U.S. law are categorized into removals, returns, and Title 42 expulsions, each with different legal implications. Removals are the most severe, involving formal court orders and legal penalties, while returns and Title 42 expulsions have different legal consequences.

Understanding the Deportation Data

The data on deportations under both the Obama and Trump administrations reveals a complex narrative. This data includes both border stops and interior enforcement, encompassing the full scope of immigration control measures.

During Obama's two terms in office, the total deportations numbered 5.3 million, with 3.2 million in his first term and 2.1 million in his second. In contrast, under Trump's presidency from 2017 to 2020, there were 2 million deportations recorded, a figure lower than each of Obama's terms.

The 2020 report from the Cato Institute corroborates DeSantis' claim, emphasizing the higher number of deportations under Obama. "By any measure, the Trump administration failed to meaningfully increase immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States," compared with the Obama administration, the report stated.

DeSantis's claim about the comparative deportation figures was scrutinized and found to be accurate. "DeSantis said Trump 'deported less, believe it or not, than Barack Obama even did.' Federal data tracking the removals, returns, and expulsions of noncitizens supports this claim. During each of his terms, Obama deported more people than Trump did during his term," a report confirmed.

The revelation of these figures sheds light on the complexities of immigration policy and enforcement in the U.S. It challenges widely held perceptions about the approaches of different administrations, underscoring the nuances often lost in broad political discussions.

DeSantis's Future Immigration Plans

While DeSantis's comments have sparked discussions, they also raise questions about his potential policies as president. His comparison with Trump's deportation record hints at a more aggressive stance on immigration enforcement, but specifics of his plan remain unclear.

Immigration policy, particularly deportations, has been a contentious issue in U.S. politics. The comparison of deportation figures between different administrations brings forth the complexities and challenges of immigration enforcement.

The ongoing debate over immigration policy highlights the importance of understanding the full context behind political statements and promises. DeSantis's claim, now validated, adds a new dimension to the discussion about effective immigration control and enforcement in the U.S.

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