ICE Reports Lowest Deportation Numbers in U.S. History
FAIR Take | May 2021
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported deporting just 2,962 aliens in April 2021, the lowest numbers for any month on record in the United States. This historic low was announced despite U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continuing to report illegal border crossing numbers at over a 20-year high. CBP apprehended more than 172,000 illegal border crossers in March alone, and has estimated encountering more than 1,000 “gotaways” getting past Border Patrol a day.
The record low deportation number, approximately a 20% reduction since just March, is a result of the severe restrictions the Biden administration has placed on ICE this year. In January, President Biden ordered a 100-day moratorium on deportations. After a federal court ruled that the prohibition was illegal, the Biden administration issued a new ICE policy, which drastically narrowed enforcement priorities to aliens who are national security threats, recent border crossers, or convicted of aggravated felonies. Further, the Biden administration now requires ICE officers to receive preapproval from a superior if they want to initiate an enforcement action against any person outside those narrow categories. Recently, the Biden administration also barred ICE or CBP from making arrests at or near courthouses and has restricted ICE’s ability to cooperate with state and local law enforcement.
Despite severely limiting immigration enforcement, the Biden administration continues to blame the alarming border crisis on poverty, climate, and violence in Central America: all factors that have not changed significantly over the past few decades. The true “root causes” of the drastic and sustained spike in illegal border crossings, however, are the administration’s consistent signaling that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership has no intention of enforcing immigration law in most instances.