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Deportations of illegal immigrants in 2012 reach new US record

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“While the [fiscal year] 2012 removals indicate that we continue to make progress in focusing resources on criminal and priority aliens, we are constantly looking for ways to ensure that we are doing everything we can to utilize our resources in a way that maximizes public safety,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement. 

In four years, the Obama administration has deported three-quarters of the number of people that President George W. Bush’s administration did in eight. And unlike Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama made no concerted effort to reform the US immigration system – a history that’s not lost on the president’s Latino supporters.

"This is nothing to be proud of,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) of Illinois, a leading lawmaker on immigration reform for a decade, in a statement on the deportation statistics.

While Representative Gutierrez lauded the crackdown on criminals as necessary, he said some 90,000 undocumented parents of American-born children continue to be deported each year.

“We must also realize that among these hundreds of thousands of deportations are parents and breadwinners and heads of American families that are assets to American communities and have committed no crimes,” the Gutierrez statement said. "Solving this problem in a humane and sensible way requires Congress to act on immigration reform and do what we have been unable to do for 25 or 30 years.”

The closest the Obama administration came to reshaping immigration policy was the summer 2012 implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, whereby some young unauthorized immigrants could gain a two-year deferral of deportation and access to work permits and driver's licenses.

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