Deportation levels under Trump are lower than ever during Obama era

President Trump continues to pride himself as a commander in chief hard on illegal immigration, but new data shows deportation is slower under Trump than it ever was under his predecessor.

According to new figures from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE officials deported 84,473 people between Feb. 1 and June 30 -- resulting in a rate of about 16,900 people per month. If this rate continues through the end of the fiscal year in September, it will place deportation levels squarely behind the 20,000 people per month rate they were at last year under former President Barack Obama.

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At the height of deportation of undocumented immigrants under Obama in 2012, ICE was removing roughly 34,000 people per month from the country. The slow since that height does not equate to Trump being easy on crime, but can likely be attributed to backlogged immigration courts, a slowing of people crossing the border and an increase in arrest rates and removal orders. Removal orders alone are up 31 percent over last year.

According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, some 610,000 immigration cases sit awaiting court throughout the country -- an 18 percent increase in this fiscal year.

In response to the Trump administration's proposing legal immigration reform, cracking down on so-called "sanctuary cities" and the president's describing undocumented immigrants calling them "drug dealers," "criminals," and "rapists," state and local law officials throughout the country have voiced opposition to federal agenda. Chicago filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration's new sanctuary city policies on Monday, an action Mayor Rahm Emanuel says is in response to a policy that "undermines our actual safety agenda."

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions slammed Emanuel in response to the lawsuit, saying "no amount of federal taxpayer dollars" will go to Chicago if they move forward in retaliation.

"The Mayor complains that the federal government's focus on enforcing the law would require a 'reordering of law enforcement practice in Chicago," Sessions said. "But that's just what Chicago needs: a recommitment to the rule of law and to policies that rollback the culture of lawlessness that has beset the city."