Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

United States officials say Trump has cast wider net for deportations

United States officials say Trump has cast wider net for deportations

While people sneaking into the country illegally accounted for the bulk of the interceptions in fiscal 2017, about a quarter showed up at legal ports of entry and were deemed inadmissible by officials. Arrests were up 20 percent over the same period, from 2,284 in 2016.

Soon after his election win President Trump pledged to deport or incarcerate "probably two million" foreigners with criminal records who he said were gang members and drug dealers, saying the number would be "as high as three million".

Under Trump administration policy, undocumented immigrants are eligible for arrest and deportation unless they are protected under a program such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama administration policy that allows some individuals who entered the country as minors to live and work in the country without fear of deportation.

Despite the decline in Border Patrol arrests, officials at Immigration and Customs (ICE) report a significant increase in arrests within the US. Trump has yet to get funding for the first installment of his proposed border wall with Mexico and the number of Border Patrol agents declined to less than 19,500 as the government struggle to fill vacancies continued during his presidency.

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According to numbers from ICE, federal immigration authorities deported fewer illegal immigrants in 2017 than in 2016, even as they arrested far more people suspected of being in the United States illegally.

The numbers released Tuesday provide the most complete statistical snapshot of immigration enforcement under Trump.

ICE said that deportations totaled 226,119, a decline of 6 percent from the previous year, but that number masks a seismic shift away from the border.

Homan called on Congress to give his officers more resources to do their jobs and to "address misguided loopholes" that make their jobs harder.

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"Overall, removals are down because the border's under better control than it has been in 45 years", said Tom Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

That is down from more than 400,000 arrests the year before, equaling a drop of 24 per cent.

The government's fiscal year began October 1, 2016, and included almost four months under former President Barack Obama. "That's a good thing", said Ronald Vitiello, the acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. Of the arrests, 304,000 were made along the Southwest border.

CBP, which has faced allegations of excessive use of force, said its employees used firearms 17 times during the fiscal year, down from 27 the previous year and 58 in 2012. CBP said its employees were assaulted 847 times, up from 585 a year earlier and less than 600 each year going back to 2012.

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