U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Wednesday (December 11) released its year-end report, which shows officials “deported approximately 12,000 family members and unaccompanied minors last fiscal year (October 1, 2018, to Septeber 30, 2019).” The breakdown indicates ICE deported 5,702 family members, which is a 110 percent jump from the year before. The Post reports the agency also “deported 6,351 people who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border as unaccompanied minors, a 14 percent increase.”
Per The Post:
The tally comes months after Trump fumed about the record influx of Central American parents and children surrendering at the U.S. border to seek asylum, thwarting his efforts to secure the U.S.-Mexico boundary and to increase arrests of immigrants convicted of serious crimes inside the United States.
Trump threatened mass arrests of families last June, though his public proclamations about the mission upended the planned roundup, known as Operation Border Resolve. The operation originally targeted 2,100 families but caught just 18 people.
Acting ICE Director Matthew T. Albence spoke at a news conference in Dallas on Wednesday, during which he pointed to tougher asylum policies as the reason why less people are attempting to cross the southern border—and which, he said, allows ICE agents to “focus on arresting more criminals,” The Post reports. Agents can now spend more time arresting families and minors who have turned 18, a strategy the Trump administration believes will deter mass migration and reduce crime.
“We’ve removed more than double the family units,” The Post reports Albence saying. “And I suspect those numbers will go up this year as well as we continue to work these cases.”
According to The Post:
Immigration arrests inside the United States—which typically target convicted criminals—hit their lowest point since Trump took office, with 143,000, down 10 percent. Arrests of convicted criminals also dropped 12 percent, to approximately 92,000.
ICE officials complained, according to The Post, that their deportation and arrest numbers aren’t as high as Trump anticipated because “sanctuary cities” refuse to help them arrest people inside the U.S. The Post reports they also lamented the legal restrictions placed on the amount of time they are allowed to detain minors. Those limitations make it “extremely challenging” to deport minors and their families.
Immigration advocates continue to fight Trump’s policies in court, maintaining that families running from dangerous conditions should be allowed to claim asylum and stay in the United States until their cases can be heard by a judge.