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Last year, Obama deported fewest number of illegals since he's been in office — here's why

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Immigrants are searched after being captured by U.S. Border Patrol agents on Aug. 16 in Roma, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

According to newly released data from the Department of Homeland Security, President Barack Obama last year deported fewer illegal aliens than in any other year he's been in office.

For 2015, DHS said they deported 140,000 criminal illegal aliens, and 193,000 non-criminal illegal aliens. The total deportations of 333,000 is the lowest total of any previous year of Obama's two terms. His previous low was 382,000 in 2010.

According to the government, Obama deported many more illegal aliens than his predecessor, George W. Bush. Illegal alien advocate groups have even dubbed Obama "the Deporter-in-Chief" because of the increased deportations, while his detractors claim he isn't deporting enough.

Pew identified several factors that contributed to the recent decline in deportations:

Several factors have contributed to the overall decline in deportations. The number of apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border, for instance, has been falling for some time: The Border Patrol made 408,870 apprehensions in fiscal 2016, a figure higher than the number of apprehensions the year before but still among the fewest since 1971.

One reason for the decline in apprehensions in recent years is an overall decrease in the number of immigrants (both legal and unauthorized) coming to the U.S., especially from Mexico. (A Pew Research Center analysis shows that between 2009 and 2014 more Mexicans were returning home to Mexico than were arriving in the U.S.) Meanwhile, stricter border enforcement by the U.S. has also played a role in this trend.

On the other hand, there are real signs that Obama is changing immigration policy to make it appear that he's deporting many more than is actually happening. Many illegal aliens are released with just a notice to appear in court later and absolutely no reason to do so, a policy angrily denounced by Border Agent Brandon Judd in February. And sometimes the federal government just accidentally hands out citizenship papers to illegals set to be deported for no reason whatsoever.

It's no wonder that Donald Trump was propelled  at least in part  to victory by his strict views on immigration.

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