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Border arrests fall, deportations soar in Trump's first year

WASHINGTON – Border Patrol arrests dropped to a minimum of 45 years, but arrests of deportation officers outside the US-Mexico border increased during During the first months of President Donald Trump, his efforts to reform the nation's immigration system came into effect.

In total, the Border Patrol made 310,531 arrests during the fiscal year that ended on September 30, a decrease of 25 percent from the previous year and the lowest level since 1971. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service of The United States, whose officers collect people for deportation, made 143,470 arrests, an increase of 25 percent. After Trump took office, ICE arrests increased 40 percent compared to the same period last year.

"The president made clear in his executive orders: there is no population off the table," Thomas Homan, acting director of ICE, told reporters in Washington on Tuesday. "If you are in this country illegally, we are looking for you and we will try to arrest you."

In general, the ICE said that the deportations totaled 226,119, a decrease of 6 percent over the previous year, but that number masked a change important outside the border. ICE often takes custody of people at the border before deporting them; The sharp drop in the arrests of the Border Patrol means that there are fewer people to withdraw.

ICE said that "internal expulsions" – people deported after being arrested outside the border – increased by 25 percent to 81,603. And they climbed 37 percent after Trump took office compared to the same period of the previous year.

In February, former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who now serves as Trump's chief of staff, dismissed the Obama administration's instructions to limit deportations to the public security threats, convicted criminals and people who recently crossed the border, making anyone in the country illegally vulnerable.

At the Capitol, a group of 34 House Republicans asked President Paul Ryan to act this month on legislation that treats 800,000 young immigrants brought to the United States as children and now live here illegally.

The reasons for the precipitous fall of border arrests are unclear, but Trump's election may have discouraged people from trying. Trump has yet to obtain funds for the first installment of his proposed border wall with Mexico and the number of Border Patrol agents decreased to less than 19,500 while the government's fight to fill vacancies continued during his presidency.

The numbers released on Tuesday provide the most complete statistical snapshot of the immigration application under Trump. And they show that deportation officials take their call for an immigration offensive very seriously, even without the increased funds the president has sought from Congress for more hirings.

South of the Arizona border in the Mexican city of Nogales, many deportees who were having breakfast in a dining room run by a nonprofit group on Monday had been picked up in the US. UU far from the border.

"We are seeing many people who have established ties in the United States," said Joanna Foote Williams, director of education and advocacy for the Kino Border Initiative, while about 40 men and some women ate eggs, refried beans and tortillas. .

Trump campaigned as a supporter of immigration, accusing Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to the US UU And promising to build "a great wall on our southern border." As president, he has signed a series of travel bans restricting who can enter the country, pressing to review the legal immigration system and trying to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to share information about illegal immigrants with federal authorities.

The sharp reduction of border arrests by Trump critics can be used to question the need to spend billions of dollars on a border wall and hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents. The officers said they believe a wall is still necessary.

Homan said that, every time a wall barrier is built, illegal crossings have decreased significantly.

"Why do not we want to build a wall?" He asked. "What is the cost of national security and public safety?"

Despite the general decrease in border detention, the number has increased every month since May, mainly families and unaccompanied children.

About 58 percent of the arrests of the Border Patrol were people from other countries besides Mexico, compared to 54 percent the previous year, mainly from Central America. Beginning around 2011, large numbers of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras began entering the country in southern Texas, which replaced Arizona as the most active corridor for illegal crossings.

Ronald Vitiello, Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said he was "very concerned" about the increases in families and children crossing over the past few months. During the fiscal year, which included the last months of the Obama administration, border authorities detained people traveling as a family 104,997 times on the border with Mexico and 48,681 unaccompanied children.

CBP also said that inspectors at land crossings, airports and ports denied entry 216,370 times during the fiscal year, a decrease of 24 percent since 2016. Border Patrol arrests occur outside those official entry points.

CBP, which has faced accusations of excessive use of force, said its employees used firearms 17 times during the fiscal year year, compared to 27 the previous year and 58 in 2012. They used "less lethal" devices such as pepper spray 979 times, compared to 947 the previous year. CBP said its employees were attacked 847 times, an increase of 585 a year earlier and less than 600 each year since 2012.


Spagat reported from San Diego. AP writer Anita Snow contributed from Nogales, Mexico. Follow Spagat and Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/elliotspagat and https://twitter.com/colvinj

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material can not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.

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