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ICE Deportations Hit Lowest Point on Record

Biden administration emphasizes catching criminals
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2021 5:57 PM CDT

(Newser) – Although illegal crossings into the US are still at elevated levels, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported fewer people in April than in any month on record. According to preliminary figures, 2,962 immigrants were deported last month, a 20% drop from March. It was the first time the monthly total was below 3,000, the Washington Post reports. At this pace, ICE will deport 55,000 people for this fiscal year, the first time in its history the total has been fewer than 100,000. While the Trump administration encouraged the agency to increase arrests and deportations, officers are operating under new rules now. "This administration has de-emphasized the likelihood that people would get arrested if they aren't a threat to public safety or recently crossed the border," said a former ICE acting director, "so they are not going to have strong removal numbers."

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ICE estimates there are 11 million immigrants in the US who lack legal status, including 1.2 million who have been ordered to leave by a judge. President Biden has shifted the focus to deporting criminals, which administration officials say will help restore ICE's reputation. "The odds of being arrested just for being in the country illegally were always extremely low," the former official said, "and now they’ve basically ruled it out by policy." Outside ICE deportations, however, the administration is still expelling people under a statute also invoked by the Trump administration, per the Hill. The pandemic-related Title 42 allows Customs and Border Protection to kick out foreign nationals caught crossing the border into the US. Under that provision, about 200,000 people at the border have been removed under the Biden administration. (Read more deportation stories.)

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