From its first days in office, the Obama administration has had a two-pronged approach to immigration policy:
Demonstrate aggressive enforcement on one hand by ramping up deportations, and on the other, push for comprehensive reform in Congress. The thinking was that a get-tough approach with deportations would help soften the political climate for reform.
The administration has been half successful so far. New numbers released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement show that deportations are booming, even if reform efforts have run aground.
The government deported nearly 400,000 people during the fiscal year that ended in September, the largest number in the agency's history.
Officials said that more than 1,000 of the deportees had been convicted of homicides and 5,800 were sexual offenders.
ICE Director John Morton said 55% of those deported had felony or misdemeanor convictions and the number convicted of crimes was up 89% from 2008.
But the agency fails to give an important number: How many of the people it calls criminals were guilty only of immigration violations. It is a felony to return to the United States after being deported.
So, who knows how many of the government's dangerous felons are really just chronic border-crossers looking for work?