WASHINGTON—Federal immigration authorities have made sharply fewer arrests and deportations of immigrants in the country illegally since President Biden took office, as the new administration reorients enforcement within the U.S. to focus on those with a serious criminal record.
Mr. Biden made a 100-day deportation moratorium one of his key campaign promises, meant to demonstrate his commitment to overhauling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency charged with immigrant arrests, detention and deportations.
A federal judge halted that deportation pause days after it was issued in January, but ICE statistics show that enforcement priorities the administration introduced have sharply reduced most of the agency’s activity anyway.
ICE’s arrests fell by about two-thirds in March compared with the monthly tallies toward the end of the Trump administration, when arrests had already slowed amid the continuing pandemic, the data show. Deportations fell by nearly 50%. And ICE’s population of immigrants in detention—which peaked above 56,000 in 2019—fell to 14,000 in March.
At the same time, migrant arrests at the U.S. Southern border have reached a 15-year high. The Border Patrol arrested more than 170,000 migrants crossing the Southern border illegally in March, according to a person familiar with the numbers, up from nearly 97,000 in February. Other migrants, meanwhile, are getting across the border without being caught. In recent days, border officials have estimated that nearly a thousand migrants have entered the country undetected, according to people familiar with the matter.
Source: WSJ – US News