On Tuesday, the Justice Department published a media release called “Return to Rule of Law in Trump Administration Marked by Increase in Key Immigration Statistics,” where it listed the last six months of data from the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) for orders of removal, voluntary departures and final decisions.

According to the DOJ release, from February 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017, there were 49,983 total orders of removal. The DOJ release said this data represented “a 27.8 percent over the same time period in 2016.” When the orders are removal are combined with voluntary departures, DOJ listed that figure at 57,069, “up 30.9 percent over the same time period in 2016.”

With five months remaining in 2017, how does Trump administration compare to the Obama administration?

Early indications would suggest that even though there is a marked increase between the 2017 data and data from the last few years under the Obama administration, the Trump numbers are lower than 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 under Obama.

The following table from EOIR’s annual 2016 report includes information that can help with a comparison. It lists the total number of removal orders and voluntary departures for the past five fiscal years and begins to offer some insight into how the new Trump numbers stack up to the Obama years.

One way to compare is to calculate a monthly average across each year.  For example, in FY 2012, there was a monthly average of 10,419 total removal decisions, 8,323 non-voluntary removal decisions and 2,096 voluntary departure decisions. When the 2017 DOJ data from the release is used to compare Trump in 2017 to Obama in 2012, the monthly average for 2017 (so far) under Trump would be 9,512 total removal decisions, 8,331 non-voluntary removal decisions and 1,181 voluntary departure decisions. In other words, the current Trump monthly averages in 2017 are on par with Obama monthly averages for 2012. In addition, the monthly averages for 2012 Obama total removal numbers were greater than the total 2017 monthly averages for Trump.

In addition, if you take EOIR data from 2009-2011, the monthly averages for Obama were actually higher in all categories than the 2017 Trump numbers from the DOJ.


But for 2013–2016, the Obama monthly averages were lower than the current Trump ones. The following is a chart of all the monthly averages since 2012.

YearTotal Removal Decisions (Monthly Average)Total Non-Voluntary Departure Decisions (Monthly Average)Total Voluntary Departure Decisions (Monthly Average)
2009 (Obama)14,85512,7492,107
2010 (Obama)13,35811,1902,169
2011 (Obama)12,89710,5122,385
2012 (Obama)10,4198,3232,096
2013 (Obama)8,2886,7591,529
2014 (Obama)8,1896,9461,242
2015 (Obama)8,2317,263968
2016 (Obama)8,0167,056959
2017 (Trump)9,5128,3311,181

The DOJ defines an order of removal by a judge when the result is “the removal of an illegal alien from the United States by the Department of Homeland Security.” A voluntary departure, according to DOJ, is when “an illegal alien agrees to voluntarily depart the United States by a certain date. If the illegal alien does not depart, the order automatically converts to an order of removal.”

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