“As the annual report’s data reflects, ICE’s officers and special agents focused on cases that delivered the greatest law enforcement impact in communities across the country while upholding our values as a nation,” acting Director Tae Johnson said in a statement announcing the results.
Immigration enforcement arrests within the U.S. fell sharply over the past year as the Biden administration shifted its enforcement priorities to focus on people in the country without legal status who have committed serious crimes, officials said Friday, AP reports.
As it released its annual report, reflecting eight months under President Joe Biden, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said total immigration arrests dropped nearly 40% from the previous year while the number of people apprehended who had committed “aggravated felonies” nearly doubled.
Total deportations fell to the lowest in the agency’s history, down nearly 70% to 59,011, a number that, in part, reflects use of a public health order implemented during the pandemic to expel people without formal deportation proceedings.
Officials portray this strategy as an efficient use of limited law enforcement resources, but it puts the administration in a bind between critics, primarily on the right, who want to see more apprehensions and progressive Democrats who have called for dramatically scaling back the mission of ICE or even eliminating it altogether.
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