United States border arrests at lowest since 1971 - Trump administration

United States border arrests at lowest since 1971 - Trump administration

New data released by DHS show that Border Patrol arrests are at a 46-year low.

Despite the decline in Border Patrol arrests, officials at Immigration and Customs (ICE) report a significant increase in arrests within the US.

During the government's 2017 fiscal year, which ended September 30, U.S., border agents made 310,531 arrests, down 24 % from the previous year.

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. It took a dramatic dive in the first months of the Trump presidency.

President Donald Trump has pledged to target illegal immigration, and build a wall on the southern border.

Border Patrol, which oversees the USA borders with Mexico and Canada, said it had arrested 310,531 people nationwide - a decrease of about 25% in total arrests.

While arrests near the US-Mexico border have declined, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Removal Operations (ERO) have drastically increased immigrant roundups far away from the crossings.


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.

"The Trump administration has been unapologetic about its war on immigrant families and a deeply problematic enforcement agency at ICE has been only too happy to carry out orders meant to de-diversify this country".

Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said on Tuesday that "overall removals are down because the border is under better control than it has been in 45 years".

ICE reports 92 percent of people the agency administratively arrested between January 20 and the end of FY2017, had a criminal conviction or a pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive or were an illegal re-entrant.

But that number masks a striking uptick in arrests away from the border.

In February, former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who now serves as Trump's chief of staff, scrapped the Obama administration's policy of limiting deportations to people who pose a public safety threat, convicted criminals and those who have crossed the border recently, effectively making anyone in the country illegally vulnerable to apprehension.

Lower numbers notwithstanding, Homeland Security officials insisted on Tuesday that a border wall remains necessary. In September we saw one such operation net nearly 500 illegal aliens in a single week, no doubt feeding into the higher numbers seen in this report. "We use walls and fences to protect things". The arrests were of immigration fugitives or those who illegally re-entered the country.

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