The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its end-of-year immigration enforcement numbers, and after almost one full year under President Trump, “historic” would be one way to describe the outcomes.
One of the most promising signs that comes from the DHS report is that the overwhelming majority of "aliens" Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) apprehended were sent back to across the border because of possible criminal pasts/affiliations.
According the the report:
ICE continued to prioritize its resources to enhance public safety and border security, which is demonstrated by the data, which reflects that 92 percent (101,722) of aliens ICE administratively arrested between January 20, 2017 and the end of FY2017, were removable aliens who had a criminal conviction or a pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive, or were an illegal re-entrant.
In the release, officials praised the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 numbers as well as President Trump for his immigration proposals and his administration's enforcement. However, officials know that there is still a lot of work to do.
“We have seen historic low numbers this year – an almost 30 percent decline in apprehensions in FY17,” said Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello, though he added, "we are very concerned about the later month increases of unaccompanied minors and minors with a family member.”
According to the release:
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported 310,531 apprehensions nationwide, 303,916 of which were along the Southwest border, underscoring the need for a physical barrier at the border. Additionally, in FY 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Removal Operations (ERO) conducted 143,470 arrests and 226,119 removals.
"We have clearly seen the successful results of the President’s commitment to supporting the frontline officers and agents of DHS as they enforce the law and secure our borders,” said Acting Secretary Elaine Duke. “We have an obligation to uphold the integrity of our immigration system, but we must do more to step up and close loopholes to protect the American worker, our economy, and our communities."
While the immigration apprehension numbers are encouraging in terms of protecting the border, the number of apprehensions themselves are down from the previous two years. One explanation for that could be that fewer people are illegally crossing the borders.
The DHS news release also reported:
In FY17, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded the lowest level of illegal cross-border migration on record, as measured by apprehensions along the border and inadmissible encounters at the U.S. ports of entry. However, in May CBP began to see a month-over-month increase in apprehensions and inadmissible cases along the Southwest border, most notably from children, either as part of a family unit or unaccompanied by their parent or legal guardian.
A possible motive for people attempting to cross the border sending children to make the crossing could be because they feel authorities won’t come down as hard on children. Hiding behind a child is one of the most cowardly ways to do things imaginable. A reported “48,681 unaccompanied children were apprehended or determined to be inadmissible.”
The majority of the unaccompanied minors seem to be coming from Central America.
Don’t let the media tell you that immigration enforcement numbers under Trump have been a failure, because they will do just that.
I’ll leave you with this statement from the news release:
While 2017 marked a successful year in border security efforts, reducing illegal cross-border migration, increasing interior enforcement, and dismantling transnational criminal enterprises, multiple challenges still remain in providing immigration officials with the tools needed to keep criminals off the streets, eliminate the pull factors for illegal immigration, and remove aliens who have violated our immigration laws from the country. The previously announced Trump Administration’s immigration priorities would address these challenges by enhancing border security, implementing a merit-based immigration system, and closing loopholes that encourage illegal immigration.