by Caroline May 8 Dec 2014, 3:51 PM PDT

The decline in deportation numbers is a result of the administration’s refusal to enforce immigration law, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) argues.

“The Obama Administration’s abysmal immigration enforcement record for the past year confirms what we already know: it refuses to use the tools provided by Congress to enforce our laws,” Goodlatte said in a statement. His committee has jurisdiction over immigration law.

Last week the Los Angeles Times released new Department of Homeland Security immigration enforcement data, showing that just 315,943 illegal and criminal immigrants were deported last fiscal year — down 14 percent from the previous year.

Digging deeper, just 102,224 were deported from the interior of the U.S., as opposed to apprehended trying to illegally enter the U.S., a 23 percent decline from last year and less than half the number deported in 2011.

“President Obama claims that he needs to set priorities for the enforcement of our immigration laws because he has limited resources, but he isn’t fully using the resources given to him by Congress,” Goodlatte says. “This year’s removal numbers impugn the President’s excuses for not enforcing our immigration laws and expose the Administration’s true motive in setting enforcement ‘priorities.’"

Goodlatte further noted that the raw deportation figures were also inflated due to the manner in which the administration has chosen to calculate deportations in recent years.

“Additionally, for the past several years the Obama Administration has padded its already meager year-end removal numbers by including recent border crossers,” Goodlatte said. “This year is no different. Collectively, the President’s refusal to enforce our laws makes our communities less safe and undermines the American people’s trust in his ability to preserve the integrity of our immigration system.”

The new numbers come mere weeks after President Obama announced his executive actions on immigration — which included further limitations on immigration enforcement and granting legal status and work permits to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants.