Deportations are down nearly 60% since Trump’s final months in office

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US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) special agent preparing to arrest alleged immigration violators at Fresh Mark in Salem, Ohio, June 19, 2018. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
  • ICE arrests have dropped 60% since President Joe Biden took office, The Washington Post reported.
  • Deportations have fallen by nearly the same amount.
  • In February, ICE arrested around 2,500 people, down from an average of 6,500 per month last fall.
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Arrests of undocumented immigrants plunged by more than 60% in February compared to the average in the final weeks of the Trump administration, according to data reviewed by The Washington Post. Deportations have fallen by roughly amount, the paper reported.

President Joe Biden came into office promising to halt most deportations in his first 100 days. But that plan was put on hold when a US judge, appointed by his predecessor and responding to a lawsuit by Texas’ Republican attorney general, ruled that the moratorium violated federal law.

The Biden administration has, in lieu of a total pause, issued guidance to Immigration and Customs Enforcement that strictly limits the conditions under which someone may be removed from the country. Agents may no longer target someone as a criminal, eligible for expulsion, over a nonviolent drug offense, for example.

“They’ve abolished ICE without abolishing ICE,” one anonymous agency official complained to The Post last month.

The impact has been stark. On average, The Post reported, ICE arrested almost 6,800 people per month from October to December 2020.

In February, Biden’s first full month in office, that number fell to less than 2,500. The US also deported about 2,600 people, down from more than 5,600 the month before.

But those figures do not tell the full story: The current administration is unlikely to satisfy either immigration activists or hard-liners.

While the new administration has started accepting unaccompanied minors who cross the border – a record 3,200 were in Border Patrol custody as of this week – it continues to expel others in the name of public health, upholding a Trump-era rule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In January, over 62,000 people were subject to such “Title 14” expulsions after crossing the border, according to US Customs and Border Protection.

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