No, nobody is getting deported for "minor drug offenses"

Human Rights Watch has come out with a rather remarkable statistic which has caught the attention of multiple news outlets. It’s an indictment of the President and his border security policies, though not for letting too many illegal aliens into the nation. They’re claiming that massive numbers of “undocumented” immigrants are being deported for minor drug offenses.

Tens of thousands of families in the US are being torn apart by the Obama administration’s policy of deporting immigrants for drug offences, some as minor as possession of a tiny bag of marijuana, according to Human Rights Watch.

At a time of bi-partisan agreement when the criminal justice system is seen as needing to move away from harsh punishment of drug offenders under the so-called “war on drugs”, the human rights group claims the US government is paradoxically pushing in the opposite direction when it comes to immigrants.

Undocumented people, as well as permanent residents holding green cards, who have been convicted of drug offences are increasingly being deported without regard to their strong family ties in the US, the many years they have lived in the country, or the relative triviality of their crimes.

Based on freedom of information requests, the group found that between 2007 and 2012, post-conviction deportations for simple drug possession soared 43%. In those years, some 260,000 non-citizens were evicted from the country having been convicted of drug offences, of whom 34,000 had been caught in possession of marijuana.

More than a quarter million people deported for drug charges? Nearly 35,000 for marijuana possession? That’s incredible!

But in this case, I mean that previous comment in the much older, original meaning of the term, which is… not credible. Here’s the problem with the announcement. I won’t deny for a moment that plenty of people get arrested for drug related offenses and some of them are serious. But have you ever heard of a US citizen being deported as a result of a drug bust? No. With the possible exception of Timothy Leary, it’s never happened. If you have a huge stockpile of cocaine you’re probably going to go to a prison here in the United States. If you have a small bag of pot you might have to show up for a citation and a fine. But you won’t be deported.

The people in this story were not deported for “minor drug offenses.” They were deported because they are illegal aliens. The drugs were only what caught the attention of the authorities in the first place. If the system were working as intended and fully funded and staffed, that would happen every time somebody who is here illegally was nabbed for jaywalking. Of course, that’s not happening today for reasons which we’ve discussed at length, but that’s how it’s supposed to work. Breaking our immigration laws is far more serious than having a dime bag.

But I suppose this creates a good talking point for those favoring “comprehensive immigration reform.” Don’t be fooled. This has nothing to do with drugs.