President Trump is keeping his campaign promise to tighten border security and crack down on illegal immigration.
The Associated Press reports that border arrests have dropped to a 45-year low (meaning there are fewer people trying to come into the country) and the number of deportation arrests has soared.
During the fiscal year that ended on September 30th, border patrol agents caught and arrested 310,531 people trying to enter the country.
ICE officers, who pick up illegals away from the border, made over 143,000 deportation arrests during that same time. This is a 25% increase from the previous year.
These figures, released by the DHS on Tuesday, show that President Trump is delivering on his promise to tighten immigration control and suggest that more and more would-be immigrants are getting the message to stay out. They also suggests a commitment to the Trump Administration’s goals despite the fact that Trump did not get the increase in funding he sought from Congress to hire more border patrol and ICE agents.
The increased arrests would not have been possible without a policy change by former DHS secretary John Kelly, who in February did away with rules that blocked ICE agents from going after illegals unless they were convicted criminals or public safety threats.
Officials have largely credited the drop in border arrests to Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric and his plans to build a border wall with Mexico.
“There’s a new recognition by would-be immigrants that the US is not hanging up a welcome sign,” said Michelle Mittelstadt of the Migration Policy institute think tank. “I think there’s a sense that the US is less hospitable.”
Some have claimed that the drop in border crossings means we don’t need to build the wall, but it’s important to remember that up to 50% of illegal crossings go undetected. And while the overall number of border arrests has dropped, the number of families and children trying to enter the country has increased. During the last fiscal year, border agents caught 104,997 families and 48,681 unaccompanied children at the Mexican border.
The report also shows that border patrol agents used firearms 17 times this year (compared to 27 times last year, and 58 the year before that) and were attacked by illegals 847 times (compared to less than 600 each year going back to 2012).
“The president made it clear in his executive orders: There’s no population off the table,” said ICE acting director Thomas Homan. “If you’re in this country illegally, we’re looking for you and we’re going to look to apprehend you.”