Home / U.S. / Trump officials report an increase in arrests, a sharp drop in border crossings

Trump officials report an increase in arrests, a sharp drop in border crossings

The Trump administration said on Tuesday it has seen an increase in arrests by deportation officers on the southern border, while the number of illegal border crossings has drastically decreased.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in its end-of-year immigration enforcement report that the number of people rejected or trapped across the border illegally plummeted 23.7 percent from the previous year to 526,901 in the fiscal year 2017. [19659002]

The arrests fell by 25.3 percent, from 415,816 to 310,531. That happened immediately after the United States Department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported its lowest number of arrests in April, at 11,127.

Border apprehensions are commonly used as a point of reference for estimating illegal attempts to cross the border.

Meanwhile, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials arrested 143,470 immigrants in the interior of the country, a jump of 25 percent. But general eliminations, commonly referred to as deportations, experienced a 6 percent decline from 2016 to 226,119.

ICE interim director Thomas Homan attributed the decrease in deportations to the drastic drop in border crossings and the continuation of border surveillance, arguing that there were fewer people to deport this year.

"The general retreats decreased because the border was better controlled than it has been in the last 45 years, that's a good story," Homan said.

Homan said that President Trump ordered DHS to "fully enforce immigration laws," a reflection of the president's campaign promise to crack down on illegal immigration.

Homan praised Trump for removing restrictions on immigration agents who can prosecute immigration violations.

"This president, as he or she loves him, is doing the right thing," said Homan, a remnant of the Obama era at DHS.

According to Trump's immigration policy, Homan has led an increase in arrests of foreigners who have violated immigration laws, but not necessarily other immigration laws.

In fiscal year 2017, ICE arrested 143,470 people for civil violations of immigration laws, 30 percent more than last year.

In the Obama administration, immigration agents were instructed to pursue arrests of undocumented immigrants who had committed an additional criminal offense, but not those without other charges.

Homan commended Trump for removing that restriction through an executive order on Jan. 25 encouraging the increase in administrative detentions.

"There is no population outside the table," said Homan. "If you are in this country illegally, we are looking for you and we are going to arrest you"

While the Obama administration argued that its internal immigration focus was on illegal immigrants, ICE arrested more foreign criminals in 2017 under Trump of what he did in 2016 under Obama.

ICE arrested 105,736 criminals in the 2017 fiscal year, a 12 percent increase from 94,751 in 2016.

According to DHS figures released on Tuesday, the ICE it also issued 65 percent more arrests in local and state jails in 2017 than in 2016. [19659002]

Detainees are requests that local authorities hold a criminal or detainee for federal authorities to pick up.

Homan attributed that increase to a change made by Trump that allows ICE to issue detentions for foreigners who have been arrested or detained by local authorities, not necessarily convicted.

"Under the last administration, they needed to have the conviction to give them an arrest warrant," Homan said.

In 2017, the local authorities, mostly from the so-called sanctuary cities, decreased 8,170 arrests, compared to the 3,623 rejected in 2016.

Homan destroyed the sanctuary cities, which refuse to cooperate fully with the federal authorities in the application of immigration, blaming them for the liberation of illegal immigrants in the streets.

But according to ICE figures, the proportion of people with repressed arrests who were subsequently arrested fell to 5.6 percent of all detentions refused in 2017 from 7.6 percent in 2016.

Still, ICE deported 13,744 criminal aliens in 2017, 10 percent more than in 2016.

That means that a greater proportion of deportations resulting from investigations are criminal, as opposed to administrative, motivations.

This increase coincided with a 24 percent decrease in the removal of criminal borders, in line with the general decrease in border apprehensions and attempts at illegal crossing.

Still, CBP interim deputy commissioner Ronald Vitiello expressed concern that border crossing numbers, particularly of unaccompanied minors, would rise toward the end of the year.

"We remain concerned," said Vitiello, adding that despite the decrease in illegal crossings, cases of aggression against Border Patrol agents increased by 47 percent compared to the previous year.

And despite the increase in attacks, Vitiello promoted a decrease in incidents of firearms use by Border Patrol officers, 17 in the fiscal year 2017, compared to 26 in 2016 and a maximum historical of 55 in 2012.

Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a fierce critic of the Trump administration's immigration policies, said that the reduction in incidents involving firearms is an "improvement."

"A lot of that has to do with, during the previous two years, the pressure of Congress, the pressure from outside organizations on the use of lethal force and the lack of research and documentation on the use of that force," said Grijalva.

Even so, less than lethal incidents of force use saw a slight rebound, from 947 last year to 979 in 2017.

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