Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency charged with immigration enforcement and removal operations (ERO), reports year-over-year increases in arrests and interior removals. The focus of ICE officials’ efforts in 2017 centered on the “roadmap of guidance and support to accomplish its homeland security mission” provided through President Trump’s directives.
According to an agency report, ICE recorded “significant gains” in ERO with administrative arrests and interior removals. Of the more than 143,000 administrative arrests made during 2017, “110,568 occurred after January 20”– the day of President Trump’s inauguration. The report goes on to point out the number of arrests since the first day of the Trump Administration amounts to a “42 percent increase over the same period last year.”
At the same time, a press report based on Mexican government data show a slower removal rate of Mexican nationals back to Mexico under President Trump compared to the removal rate under President Obama. Reported numbers around Mexico’s Interior Ministry show Mexican national repatriation from the U.S. between January and November at 152,000. In the first 11 months of 2016, 205,000 Mexican nationals repatriated from the U.S. The numbers amount to 26 percent fewer Mexican removals under President Trump than the same time period under President Obama.
ICE officials attribute the drop in removal numbers to a 17 percent drop in border apprehensions. As the economic and political climates fade the lure of undocumented immigration, the number of attempted crossings– and apprehensions– declines.
The agency used the end-of-year report to dispel “numerous stories and allegations in the media falsely accusing ICE of conducting indiscriminate raids and sweeps.” Despite the agenda-driven reporting, “the fact is that 92 percent of all aliens arrested by ICE this year had criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, were an immigration fugitive, or were an illegal re-entrant.”
ICE operates as the largest investigative agency within the Department of Homeland Security. Besides ERO, the agency is also charged with Homeland Security Investigations.