On Tuesday, President Trump expertly trolled former President Obama on the subject of illegal immigration with this tweet, referencing a speech then-Senator Obama gave in 2005:
Obama’s exact words:
We all agree on the need to better secure the border, and to punish employers who choose to hire illegal immigrants. We are a generous and welcoming people here in the United States but those who enter the country illegally and those who employ them disrespect the rule of law and they are showing disregard for those following the law. We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently and lawfully to become immigrants in this country.
Obama repeated those words in a 2006 speech on the Senate floor, saying:
The American people are a welcoming and generous people. But those who enter our country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law. And because we live in an age where terrorists are challenging our borders, we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked. Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of the immigration laws.
By 2014, Obama’s rhetoric was this:
Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we’re also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable -– especially those who may be dangerous. That’s why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 percent. And that’s why we’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.
In 2014, Obama ordered the creation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, which planned to allow as many as five million illegal immigrants who were the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply for a program that would exempt them from deportation.
The Migration Policy Institute noted in January 2017:
Border apprehensions and removals increased in (fiscal year) FY 2016 compared to the prior year, DHS reported. In FY 2016, DHS carried out 530,250 apprehensions and 344,354 removals, compared to 462,388 apprehensions and 333,341 removals a year earlier. Despite the increase, these numbers were far lower than the peak of enforcement operations at the beginning of the Obama years, after he inherited a robust enforcement regime from his predecessors. These numbers dipped as new enforcement priorities were put in place, before rebounding slightly at the end of the Obama presidency.