Barack Obama might tell Hispanic voters that Republican opponents of "comprehensive immigration reform" are "enemies" who deserve to be punished. His Justice Department might have sued Arizona. His appointees in the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may circulate memos talking about how to implement amnesty administratively if Congress won't act. Unionized customs officers and border patrol agents may protest that immigration laws are going unenforced.
Don't let any of that fool you, however: Barack Obama is tough on illegal immigration. The proof? He has presided over a record number of deportations. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and irritated liberal bloggers reported that more illegal immigrants have been removed from the country under Obama than ever before. "When the secretary tells you that the numbers are at an all-time high, that's straight, on the merits, no cooking of the books," John Morton, Obama's head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), boasted at an October press conference.
In Monday's Washington Post, Andrew Becker of the Center for Investigative Reporting demonstrated that some books were indeed cooked in the process of attaining this record. (The Post's headline writers preferred the phrase "unusual methods.") It was reminiscent of the White House's number of jobs "created or saved" by the stimulus, with some PBS fundraising marathon tactics thrown in for good measure.
Brecker reports that in order to reach the 392,862-deportation finish line, ICE included more than 19,000 illegals who had departed in the previous fiscal year. They also extended a Mexican repatriation program by an additional five weeks in order to be able to count 6,500 exits that "would normally have been tallied by the U.S. Border Patrol."