The Biden administration claims it is concentrating deportation efforts on dangerous illegal aliens with criminal records. But removals of those individuals have declined sharply.
Overall, deportations from the U.S. are at their lowest level since the mid-1990s, down 90 percent from 2019, according to a new report. And, disturbingly, removal of aliens who have serious criminal convictions fell by 65 percent.
From Jan. 21-July 9, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed 6,000 criminal aliens who had committed serious offenses. That’s a far cry from the 17,553 such aliens deported during the same period in 2019.
“The number of removals is shockingly low in some ICE field offices,” says Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies. “The Baltimore Field Office removed a grand total of 32 aliens during [President] Biden’s first five months [in office]. This field office covers all of Maryland, including Montgomery and Prince Georges counties adjacent to Washington, D.C., which have significant numbers of illegal alien residents and which are hotbeds of MS-13 and 18th Street gang activity.”
(The situation in the Old Line State doesn’t figure to improve. Its General Assembly recently enacted legislation prohibiting local and state law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration agents.)
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security classified 1.9 million non-citizens as removable criminal aliens. At current deportation rate, their expulsions will be a long time coming, if ever.
Meanwhile, more foreign-born convicts are adding to the backlog. At the end of fiscal year 2019, 51,074 known or suspected aliens were in Department of Justice custody. That figure does not include the hundreds of thousands in state prisons and local jails. Texas alone has booked 356,000 criminal aliens since 2011.
At minimum, Americans should expect ICE agents to be at prison gates with deportation papers at the ready when incarcerated aliens are released. But the declining removal numbers indicate that ICE isn’t even plucking that low-hanging fruit.
With ever-expanding state and local sanctuary laws handcuffing immigration enforcement, and the Biden administration now designating additional “protected areas,” deportations are becoming increasingly rare – even for violent criminal aliens. That bodes ill for a country where violent crime is surging.