Trump's first year: Border crossings down, deportations up

Thursday, 07 Dec, 2017

ICE administrative arrests are up around 20 percent in Colorado and Wyoming from FY 2016, and removals increased 145 percent from previous year.

Border officers apprehended 310,531 people for being in the country illegally in fiscal 2017, a 25 percent decrease from the year before.

During the same time period, the agency arrested more than 110,000 people, a 42 percent increase over the prior year.

Illegal migration was at its lowest level immediately following President Trump's election win, perhaps because President Trump's rhetoric on immigration deterred would-be border crossers.

New data released by DHS show that Border Patrol arrests are at a 46-year low. It took a dramatic dive in the first months of the Trump presidency. ICE acting chief Homan says arrests of gang members - including the violent MS-13 gang - have jumped 83 percent.

But officers expelled about 6% fewer people from the United States during the government's 2017 fiscal year, partly because the drop in illegal border crossings left the agency with fewer cases of people to deport.

"If you're in this country illegally and you enter this country illegally, which is a crime within itself - let's remember that - and yet you commit a crime against a citizen of this country, you are a priority for arrest", said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan.

In September, the Trump administration announced it would end DACA, the Obama-era program protecting some 800,000 immigrants from deportation who were underage when they arrived in the country illegally. But overall removals, which include people apprehended at the border, are lower than past year because there simply haven't been as many immigrants entering the country illegally.

President Donald Trump has pledged to target illegal immigration, and build a wall on the southern border. Securing the border before that happens means that future generations of Border Patrol and ICE agents will have an easier task to tackle.

The overwhelming majority of border arrests - 303,916 - happened along the south-western border.

Lower numbers notwithstanding, Homeland Security officials insisted on Tuesday that a border wall remains necessary. "But the fact remains that after unprecedented investments in border security over the last decade, the border has become harder to cross and fewer people are trying". If the President is looking for any more good news to share over the Christmas break, one area he could point to is the effectiveness demonstrated in making progress on curbing illegal immigration and removing illegal aliens from the country.

Illegal border crossings are also down.