Undocumented immigrant deportation rates hit a record high this year compared to previous years, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As one can see from the above Center for American Progress graphic, more than 2 million undocumented have been deported since 2009. This is equivalent to the size of 4 major city populations combined: Boston, Seattle, Miami, and St. Louis. However, this number has been criticized by Center for Immigration Studies as not being accurately reported since the number of deportations has been counted differently than in previous years, such as including the number of those who cross borders.
The debate surrounding immigration reform has been heated between supporters and critics. Supporters believe providing the undocumented a road to citizenship brings economic benefits due to increased tax revenue collected, increased economic growth, and increased contribution into public programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Meanwhile, critics argue that the current immigration reform bill would place a huge financial burden on current American taxpayers due to a potential increase in utilization of welfare programs by this population.
Regardless of the difference in opinion, both sides agree immigration reform is essential for the well-being of future generations to come.
Joanne Chan, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Harvard School of Public Health