Many pundits think that the reason for President Obama’s softening numbers in the Latino community can be attributed to broken promises on immigration legislation. I think that’s unlikely, actually, and the fact that the DREAM Act got a vote at the end of the session at least can make a plausible case that Democrats tried. What drives this much more strongly, in my view, is the sharp spike in deportations under this Administration. Communities are being ripped apart.
In fiscal year 2010, ICE set a record for overall removals of illegal aliens, with more than 392,000 removals nationwide. Half of those removed—more than 195,000—were convicted criminals. The fiscal year 2010 statistics represent increases of more than 23,000 removals overall and 81,000 criminal removals compared to fiscal year 2008—a more than 70 percent increase in removal of criminal aliens from the previous administration [...]
Since January 2009, ICE has audited more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, debarred 225 companies and individuals, and imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions—more than the total amount of audits and debarments than during the entire previous administration.
Basically, ICE is running at the maximum levels given their funding for deportations.
What’s depressing about this is that Republicans continue to accuse the White House of being soft on the border and soft on “illegal immigrants.” The facts don’t matter whatsoever. Yet Latinos understand the facts all too well, they see it in their communities every single day. There’s some evidence to suggest that the deportations fall more heavily on undocumenteds with criminal records, but the fact remains that a higher rate of people have been expelled from the country under Obama than under Bush. It’s hard to say that has no impact on those Latino voter numbers, one way or the other.