Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

U.S. Deportation Rates Lowest In Last Decade

The economy could be the reason.

The Associated Press reported today that the United States has deported the fewest number of immigrants since 2006.

Since 2012, the total of deportations has dropped 42 percent, according to the Associated Press, with 231,000 people deported. Last year that total was more than 257,000.

Stephanie Canizales, a USC Ph.D candidate in Sociology, who studies international migration, said that these numbers do not reflect all the data that might be available.

"The levels of deportation have declined over the past few years, [which] doesn't mean that there are less people in the state of deportability," Canizales said. "I was thinking about how many people are actually in deportation proceedings now, how long are deportation proceedings taking, and how long people are being detained and awaiting deportation -- not only in the U.S. interior, but detention centers or any sort of housing facility that undocumented migrants are being held in."

Listen to the radio story here.

Canizales said one of the reasons for the drop is because there has been less immigration from Mexico due to changes in the North American economy.

"We've seen a decline in recent years, since the recession of the U.S. economy, in Mexican migration," Canizales said. "Since about 2007, we've seen a weakening in the U.S. economy and also the strengthening of the Mexican economy and infrastructure, so people started returning."

A spokesperson from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not finalized its fiscal year 2015 reporting.

"Over the past few years, [ICE] has refined its priorities to improve the quality of its removals by focusing on the most recent public safety and national security threats as well as recent border crossers," the ICE spokesperson said. "As a result, overall removals may show a decline, consistent with a substantial drop in overall apprehension, among other factors."

Canizales said that the rise and eventual decline in the number of deportations is because of the focus on criminals.

"There's this idea that unauthorized immigrants, and maybe even immigrants more broadly, are inherently criminals or inherently inclined to commit violent crimes," Canizales said. "Research actually shows that immigrants are less likely to commit violent crimes."

The Department of Homeland Security is working on continuing building partnerships with local law enforcement and community leaders through the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), according to the ICE spokesperson.

"With the implementation of the PEP in July 2015, many law enforcement agencies, including some large jurisdictions, are now once again cooperating with ICE," said the ICE spokesperson, who did not want to be identified.

Leave a comment

We've Moved!

By Sam Bergum
01/21/16 | 11:09 a.m. PST

Visit us at!

USC Basketball Knocks Off Rival UCLA 89- 75

By Scott Cook
01/14/16 | 12:05 a.m. PST

USC defeats UCLA with stellar play from their Freshmen. 

Holiday Bowl - USC vs Wisconsin Post-Game Press Conference

Su'a Cravens: "It's the players that need to step up"

Darreus Rogers: "It comes down to the players"

Trojans Fall to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl 23-21

We detected that you might be on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sorry, at this time the video box is only visible on desktop computers.