Seven Facts About Obama’s Immigration Record Liberals Refuse to Admit

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visits the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Nogales Placement Center June 25, 2014 (Barry Bahler/Department of Homeland Security)

For months, Democrats accused President Trump of manufacturing a border crisis for political purposes. Because of this, they’ve generally refused to work with Trump or Republicans to do anything about it. They’re singing a different tune now, however, but instead of blaming Trump for manufacturing a crisis, they’re blaming him for the crisis. All the negative news we’re hearing from the border has Democrats pouncing, hoping to pin the blame on Trump and policies.


But when you look at the facts, it’s clear that while the crisis wasn’t manufactured, the Democrats’ outrage is. For years, they’ve stood idly by as the issues they now are hoping to turn into political footballs were going on in plain sight without a peep. Why? Because when it happened under Barack Obama they cared more about his image than the immigrant children and families they pretend to be advocating for today.

Below are seven facts about Obama’s immigration record that liberals are in complete denial over.

7. Obama deported a lot of illegal immigrants.

Despite Obama’s embracing of open borders and amnesty during his presidency, he actually deported a sizable number of illegal immigrants during his eight years in office. According to government figures, “During Obama’s eight years in office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported over 3.1 million unauthorized immigrants. Most unauthorized immigrants who were apprehended inside of the country, not at the border, were convicted criminals, according to DHS.” Obama’s immigration policy overall was still very much defined by his support of amnesty and open borders, but his administration still deported illegals. A lot of them.

6. Obama kept immigrant children in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

In July 2015, a district court judge found the Obama administration to be in violation of the Flores Agreement, which requires the government to provide safe and sanitary conditions for immigrant minors, including food, drinking water, medical care, and other accommodations. The New York Times reported the following on the ruling:


In a decision late Friday roundly rejecting the administration’s arguments for holding the families, Judge Dolly M. Gee of Federal District Court for the Central District of California found that two detention centers in Texas that the administration opened last summer fail to meet minimum legal requirements of the 1997 settlement for facilities housing children.

Judge Gee also found that migrant children had been held in “widespread deplorable conditions” in Border Patrol stations after they were first caught, and she said the authorities had “wholly failed” to provide the “safe and sanitary” conditions required for children even in temporary cells.

The opinion was a significant legal blow to detention policies ordered by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in response to an influx of children and parents, mostly from Central America, across the border in South Texas last summer. In her 25-page ruling, Judge Gee gave a withering critique of the administration’s positions, declaring them “unpersuasive” and “dubious” and saying officials had ignored “unambiguous” terms of the settlement.

The Obama administration not only fought the ruling, but continued to “detain children in deplorable and unsanitary conditions in CBP facilities in violation of the settlement and the court’s orders.” Where was the outrage?


5. Obama tear-gassed immigrants at the border.

That’s right, multiple presidents, including Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Obama used tear gas to control crowds of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. This fact was actually acknowledged by the left-wing fact-checking site

Statistics CBP emailed to show that, from fiscal years 2012 to 2018, border agents used the chemical compound 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS), which is commonly known as tear gas, in 126 incidents. Of those, 79 occurred during the five full fiscal years under President Barack Obama. That’s a little over one incident per month from fiscal 2012 to 2016. CBP sent us annual, not monthly figures.

Border agents also regularly used pepper spray. According to, “Border agents used it in 540 incidents from fiscal years 2012 to 2018, and 434 (or 80 percent) of those were during the five full fiscal years under Obama.”

4. Immigrants died trying to cross the border into the United States under Obama.

Democrats pounced on the now infamous photo of a Salvadoran man and his nearly two-year-old daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande trying to come into the United States. To them, Trump and his policies were to blame. Of course, hundreds of immigrants die every year trying to get into the United States, but apparently, only Trump is individually culpable for it when it happens on his watch. Democrats who might concede this point might believe that the problem got worse under Trump because, well, Trump! But according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, there were fewer deaths at the border during Trump’s first two years than there were during Obama’s first two years.


3. Obama let immigrant children into the hands of human traffickers.

Yes. It’s true. The U.S. Senate investigated human trafficking of children who came into the United States, and the report did get national media coverage. Just no national outrage. In January 2016 the Washington Post reported that “The Obama administration failed to protect thousands of Central American children who have flooded across the U.S. border since 2011, leaving them vulnerable to traffickers and to abuses at the hands of government-approved caretakers.” Under Obama, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the HHS Department, “failed to do proper background checks of adults who claimed the children, allowed sponsors to take custody of multiple unrelated children, and regularly placed children in homes without visiting the locations.”

“It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who started the Senate investigation. It happened, and it happened on Obama’s watch.

2. Obama separated families at the border.

The most common rebuttal I’ve heard on social media to the issue of which administration built the cages housing immigrant children is that Trump separated families at the border, while Obama did not. In their minds, the moment Trump became president, unaccompanied minors stopped coming across the border, and instead, it was full of families, that were then thoughtlessly ripped apart by an evil and mean Trump administration. Well, the left doesn’t want to see this, but the separation of families at the border was a continuation of an existing policy that preceded Trump (and Obama) and Obama absolutely separated families at the border.


1. Obama built the cages for immigrant children.

Not even Snopes could deny this one. Two former Obama administration officials have publicly acknowledged this fact, and the media even reported on the migrant detention facilities that were built by the Obama administration—but those reports lacked the outrage you see today. There is a lot of photographic evidence of migrant detention facilities during the Obama years, with children crowded in caged areas, sleeping on concrete floors, that just didn’t resonate with the media or the political left at the time. It’s almost as though they were trying to protect Obama’s legacy.


Matt Margolis is the author of the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published on July 30, 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis



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