Deportations Decline as Fewer Seek Illegal Entry on U.S. Border

  • From January through June, 14% fewer people were deported
  • Arrests by U.S. immigration agents rose during that period

The number of undocumented immigrants deported during the first half of 2017 fell 14 percent from a year earlier as fewer people tried to illegally enter the U.S. on the southern border, according to the Trump administration.

There were 104,618 people deported through June, down from 121,170 during the same months in 2016, according to data provided Thursday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in response to a query.

In previous years, the number of deportations was boosted by law enforcement officials apprehending more people just after they illegally crossed the U.S. border, said Matthew Bourke, an ICE spokesman. As fewer people enter the U.S. illegally on the border, “removals are going to be impacted," he said.

President Donald Trump made border security a centerpiece of his campaign last year and is pressing lawmakers to provide funding for a wall along the southern border with Mexico to prevent illegal immigration. He also promised to crack down on undocumented immigrants already in the U.S.

Even as deportations have declined, arrests of undocumented immigrants by ICE agents increased 37 percent in the first six months of the year, compared with the same period last year. This year, there were 75,026 arrests, compared with 54,683 a year earlier.

Among those arrested, more of the suspects than in previous years have never committed a crime, said Ryan Eller, executive director of Define American, an advocacy group that tells immigrants’ stories to frame debate on the topic.

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