Drug Offenses 1/3 of US Criminal Deportations, DHS Says

Update: When published, this article incorrectly reported that aliens in the US face deportation for even a single marijuana possession misdemeanor. No, it takes two misdemeanor marijuana possession offenses to do that. We have modified the article accordingly. 

The United States last year deported more than 128,000 foreigners for committing crimes in the US, with people convicted of drug offenses making up nearly one-third of the total, according to a Department of Homeland Security report released last week. Some 37,000 foreign nationals were deported for drug offenses in fiscal year 2009, the report found, or 29.6% of all those deported under the criminal alien removal program.

Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) photo
Under US immigration laws non-citizens can be deported for any drug offense, except the simple possession of marijuana--although a second pot possession offense qualifies as deportable. The report supplies no breakdown of how many people were deported for which drug offenses.

The number of people deported for drug offenses was nearly double the second and third place offense categories. More than 20,000 people were deported for traffic violations and more than 19,000 were deported for immigration offenses.

Persons convicted of what are commonly considered serious crimes (assault, larceny, burglary, robbery, fraud, sexual assault) made up only 20.7% of those deported. "Family offenses" accounted for another 2%, while the category "other" included 16.5%.

Overall deportations are down from last year, with 290,000 people being removed by July 22, the agency reported. At the same time last year, 322,000 had been deported. But the percentage of people deported for committing crimes is up to nearly 50% this year, compared to 30% for the same period last year.

The Obama administration's push against criminal immigrants has been criticized both by advocates of tougher immigration policies, who applaud the crackdown on criminals but want to see it extended to non-criminal aliens, and by immigration rights activists for deporting more people than the Bush administration and deporting people, including some who have spent their entire lives here, for minor criminal offenses.

Washington, DC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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error in article

While foreign nationals convicted of simple cannabis possession may not enter the US, once here legally, a first offence cannabis possession charge will not trigger deportation

psmith's picture

The commenter is correct.

It takes two marijuana possession misdemeanors to trigger deportation. We have fixed that in the article.

It's no wonder why America is no longer the dream land

As Americans, we have a tendency to judge others. We kiss the boots of those who have more, and those who are beneath we kick with our boots. I can hardly believe that our nation has gone blind. We put all our energy and focus on other countries, fighting their wars, chasing illegal aliens , while the destruction lives right under your roof. It's US. The mother of wealth , Americans . We are nothing like our ancestors , we let kids and young adults use pot, practice all forms of sex, experience all kinds of drugs. When we are too focus on outsiders , instead focusing on the total waste of human you are rising the destruction for America. Kids with no values, morals, or compassion for those who have less. Americans open your eyes, all you blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

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