Obama sets all-time deportation record

Undocumented Guatemalan immigrants are searched before boarding a deportation flight to Guatemala City, Guatemala at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport on June 24, 2011 in Mesa, Arizona (John Moore / Getty Images / AFP)
President Barack Obama just guaranteed himself a place in the record books. Under his watch, the United States deported more immigrants than ever before last year.

For the fiscal year ending September 2011, the Obama administration sent nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants out of the United States, a statistic more than triple the figure for the year 2000.

In total, 396,906 non-citizens were evicted from the great American melting pot during the last 12 months; the figure for 2000 was only 116,782.

To some lawmakers, nearly 400,000 isn’t good enough, however. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has questioned Obama’s criteria for kicking illegal immigrants out of the country. The president’s latest deportation initiative focuses largely on eliminating America of convicted criminals without citizenship, but Smith says that the president shouldn’t be so particular.

“It's disappointing that the Obama administration continues to put illegal immigrants before the American people," Smith said. "We could free up millions of jobs for citizens and legal immigrants if we simply enforced our immigration laws."

New rules for the Department of Homeland Security’s deportation procedures under Obama’s insistence aims to focus on criminals, security threats and repeated border-crossers. Of the nearly 400,000 sent home last year, 55 percent fell into that category. Around 36,000 of those deported were convicted of driving under the influence and just over 1,100 were convicted of homicide.

For the over 200,000 kicked-out, however, nearly the same number of deported aliens last year were booted from America for simply being un-American. “For billions of dollars to be spent so that 45 percent of the people we're deporting are not convicted criminals is not a good use of our enforcement dollars," Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, tells USA Today.

Rallies are being held today in cities across America, including San Francisco, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee and Tucson, to protest President Obama’s immigration policies.