The New York Times reports the number of court ordered deportations of illegal immigrants in the United States has fallen nearly in half since 2009.
Figures released Wednesday by the Justice Department, which oversees the federal government's immigration court system, show the Obama administration opened 26 percent fewer deportation cases in the courts last year than in 2009.
The numbers highlight the administration's shift towards greater discretion among prosecutors about the people they sought to deport. The Times said prosecutors have increasingly offered to suspend cases of immigrants with no criminal records who had families in the United States. The number of suspended cases rose more than 400 percent between 2011 and 2013.
President Barack Obama has come under increasing pressure from immigration advocates who have accused him of moving too slowly on reforming the nation's immigration system, while the number of deportations under his watch reaches 2 million.
A comprehensive immigration reform bill that would improve border security and offer a path to citizenship for the nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants was approved by the Democratic-led U.S. Senate last year, but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has refused to take up the issue.