Deportations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fell to their lowest level on record last month, a precipitous drop that comes as illegal border crossings are at a 20-year high.
ICE deported 2,962 migrants in April, the first time a monthly figure has dipped below 3,000. On this pace, deportations will barely hit 55,000 for the 2021 fiscal year, marking the first time they’ve fallen under 100,000, according to the Washington Post.
ICE deportations ostensibly peaked at more than 400,000 in 2013 under Joe Biden’s former boss, “Deporter in Chief” Barack Obama (though Obama admitted that his accounting methods departed from customary practice and artificially inflated the numbers). Deportations averaged around 240,000 during Donald Trump’s tenure. The high-water mark for removals came under Bill Clinton.
Today, ICE says it’s focusing on national security, border security and public safety threats. But, meantime, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to send tens of thousands of illegal migrants into the country unconditionally. In Texas’ Rio Grande sector alone, 18,000 border crossers and 72,000 family units have been released since Biden moved into the White House.
Under the administration’s catch-and-release policies, migrants are ushered into the country without immigration court dates. The official statistics do not include all the “got-aways” who elude CBP and make it into the interior on their own.
The combination of a porous southern border and negligible interior enforcement prompted Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., to observe, “The way [things are]being handled right now is causing all of us to be border states.”
In the face of Biden’s stand-down, one federal program has survived seemingly intact. Operation Stonegarden, funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), continues to disburse $90 million annually to local law-enforcement agencies struggling with the influx of illegal aliens.
Recently, two small adjacent South Texas counties – Live Oak and McMullen, with a combined population of 12,913 – received $368,000 through Stonegarden to bolster their patrols and purchase equipment.
At that rate, $90 million will go quickly. But with what results? As long as CBP and ICE aren’t in the business of turning back or removing illegal aliens, Stonegarden is tightly hedged by the bureaucratic brick wall Biden has built.