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Deportations Are Up, But Is Anyone Applauding?

Published on Thu, Sep 13, 2012

Ben Winograd, an American Immigration Council staff attorney, was quoted in a KPBS article in which he explains government deportation-speak: 

To clear this up, I called up Ben Winograd, a staff attorney at the American Immigration Council, who pores over these statistics.

He explained that in deportation-speak, the government generally uses two terms to refer to how it boots someone out of the country.

“When the government refers to a removal, they are referring to the forced departure of an immigrant based on an order of removal,” from an immigration officer or judge, Winograd said.

“When the government, by contrast, refers to a return, they’re referring to an immigrant who legally could have been subject to an order of deportation, but was allowed to return voluntarily,” he said.

Generally, people removed from the interior of the country, either through directed enforcement operations, workplace raids, or from jails, are “removed,” whereas migrants caught trying to cross the border are generally “returned.”


“It’s kind of the thing that neither party likes to mention,” Winograd said. “Republicans don’t want to mention it because it makes Obama look good on immigration enforcement. And Democrats don’t want to mention it because it makes Obama look bad on immigration enforcement.”

Published in the KPBS San Diego | Read Article