President Obama’s promise of change doesn’t apply across the board: The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency expects to deport about 400,000 people this fiscal year, almost 10 percent above the Bush administration’s total for 2008. Company audits have risen even more sharply, quadrupling since Bush’s final year. The changes are the result of Obama’s attempt to walk an impossibly fine line: winning Republican support for comprehensive immigration reform while appeasing Democrats who voted for his campaign promise to help immigrants. There have also been changes in who is arrested and how. The administration has been performing employer audits rather than the workplace raids popular during the Bush administration, and targeting deportable immigrants who have unrelated criminal convictions while explicitly disregarding illegal immigrants who are pregnant, ill, or primary caretakers. According to ICE’s director, John Morton, nearly 50 percent of the people deported this fiscal year have a criminal conviction, from driving without a license and DUI to major felonies, an increase of over 36,000 from last year. But the right has been criticizing the administration for focusing only on immigrants with criminal records and leaving others unmolested, while the left says too many otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants are still being deported.
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