Trump’s crack­down on il­le­gals shows in data

Stark change seen from Obama era


Pres­i­dent Trump has over­seen huge in­creases in ar­rest­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants in­side the U.S., push­ing them through the im­mi­gra­tion courts to­ward de­por­ta­tions and stop­ping new­com­ers from en­ter­ing along the south­west­ern bor­der, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics re­leased Tues­day.

While the gi­ant bor­der gains re­ported in the early days of the pres­i­dency have di­min­ished, Mr. Trump is still well ahead of the Obama era, with the num­ber of il­le­gal im­mi­grants be­ing snared — a mea­sure of the over­all flow — down by 46 per­cent in July com­pared with the same pe­riod last year.

The im­mi­gra­tion courts are also mov­ing faster in or­der­ing de­por­ta­tions, is­su­ing nearly 50,000 re­moval or­ders from Fe­bru­ary through July — up 28 per­cent com­pared with the same pe­riod last year un­der Pres­i­dent Obama.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials said the num­bers show Mr. Trump has taken the im­mi­gra­tion is­sue se­ri­ously, which was one of his most prom­i­nent cam­paign prom­ises.

At the bor­der, the U.S. is on pace for the low­est num­ber of ap­pre­hen­sions in four decades. That num­ber is con­sid­ered a rough yard­stick for the over­all flow, mean­ing a drop in the num­ber of peo­ple caught sig­nals a drop

in the over­all flow of il­le­gal bor­der cross­ings, of­fi­cials say.

In the in­te­rior, de­por­ta­tions are down this fis­cal year, but ar­rests by U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment are up, as are or­ders of re­moval is­sued by im­mi­gra­tion courts in the Jus­tice De­part­ment.

That sug­gests the is­sue isn’t a lack of willpower but rather a change in the com­po­si­tion of peo­ple ICE is han­dling. Sim­ply put, Home­land Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials say fewer peo­ple caught at the bor­der means fewer peo­ple who can be de­ported with­out fac­ing long le­gal bat­tles.

“You have fewer peo­ple com­ing across the bor­der, so you nec­es­sar­ily, even­tu­ally, have fewer re­movals,” said David La­pan, a spokesman for the Home­land Se­cu­rity De­part­ment.

One dan­ger sign, though, is a re­newed spike in the num­bers of fam­i­lies and un­ac­com­pa­nied alien chil­dren (UAC) who are jump­ing the bor­der. The Bor­der Pa­trol re­ported a 27 per­cent rise in UAC ap­pre­hen­sions and a 46 per­cent surge in peo­ple trav­el­ing as fam­i­lies in July, com­pared with June.

Just a few months ago, the ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­peared to have re­solved the prob­lem. UAC and fam­ily ap­pre­hen­sions hov­ered at about 1,000 a month.

But UAC num­bers are now nearly 2,500 a month, and fam­ily ap­pre­hen­sions were nearly 3,400 in July.

Dur­ing the Obama-era surge, those num­bers reached more than 10,000 a month each for UAC and fam­ily ap­pre­hen­sions, as Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants streamed north, be­liev­ing lax en­force­ment would give them a chance to earn a foothold in the U.S.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has been try­ing to dig out of that hole with a se­ries of poli­cies in­clud­ing tar­get­ing for de­por­ta­tion UAC and fam­i­lies that have had their day in im­mi­gra­tion court but are ig­nor­ing or­ders or re­moval.

Mr. Trump has also asked for money to be­gin build­ing his bor­der wall, with pro­to­types to be built later this year.

Mr. La­pan said Home­land Se­cu­rity is study­ing the trends and isn’t cer­tain whether they mean a new spike or just sea­sonal tweaks.

“The short an­swer is we don’t know what all of those causes are,” he said.

Still, even with the rise month to month, the num­bers are lower than they have been in years.

U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers at the ports of en­try recorded 6,833 in­ad­mis­si­ble aliens try­ing to en­ter. The Bor­der Pa­trol, mean­while, nabbed 18,198 peo­ple who had sneaked across the bor­der.

The com­bined num­ber of 25,031, while the high­est un­der Mr. Trump, is lower than any month un­der Mr. Obama dat­ing back to De­cem­ber 2011.

When con­sid­ered on a year-to-year ba­sis, the gains are in­deed stun­ning. In July 2016, the Bor­der Pa­trol nabbed 33,737 il­le­gal im­mi­grants — 85 per­cent more than this year’s to­tal.

The pres­i­dent has re­peat­edly cited progress on the bor­der as one of his ma­jor suc­cesses early in his ten­ure. He pointed to the progress as one of the rea­sons he tapped his first home­land se­cu­rity sec­re­tary, John F. Kelly, to be­come White House chief of staff.

Im­mi­grant rights ad­vo­cates have ve­he­mently com­plained about Mr. Trump’s ex­panded fo­cus on en­forc­ing im­mi­gra­tion laws and begged him to use dis­cre­tion to stop de­port­ing long­time il­le­gal im­mi­grants who, de­spite their unau­tho­rized sta­tus, have been able to build roots in their com­mu­ni­ties.

In one new case, ad­vo­cates com­plained that ICE is pre­par­ing to de­port an il­le­gal im­mi­grant woman in Texas whose 8-year-old daugh­ter is bat­tling lung can­cer. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion al­lowed the woman to re­main in the U.S. on a tem­po­rary stay of de­por­ta­tion, but the Trump

ad­min­is­tra­tion re­versed that de­ci­sion.

“Trump’s de­por­ta­tion agents have reached a new level of cru­elty,” said Lynn Tra­monte, deputy di­rec­tor of Amer­ica’s Voice Ed­u­ca­tion Fund. “Tak­ing an 8-year-old’s mom away, leav­ing the child to bat­tle a rare form of can­cer alone? This is what in­hu­man­ity looks like when it’s al­lowed to in­fect a bu­reau­cracy.”

Ac­tivists have also planned a se­ries of marches and ral­lies in Wash­ing­ton next week, the fifth an­niver­sary of the start of Mr. Obama’s de­por­ta­tion amnesty for Dream­ers, known in gov­ern­ments­peak as DACA.

That pro­gram is pro­tect­ing about 800,000 young adult il­le­gal im­mi­grants who came to the U.S. as chil­dren and who have kept rel­a­tively clean records while com­plet­ing or work­ing on their ed­u­ca­tion.

Mr. Trump is fac­ing a Sept. 5 dead­line to de­cide whether to de­fend the DACA pro­gram in court. Texas has said it will ask a fed­eral judge to in­val­i­date the pro­gram un­less the ad­min­is­tra­tion agrees to phase it out. Im­mi­grant rights ad­vo­cates are de­mand­ing that Mr. Trump de­fend the pro­gram, even though his top ad­vis­ers say they have lit­tle hope of win­ning the case.


U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers recorded 6,833 in­ad­mis­si­ble aliens try­ing to en­ter. The Bor­der Pa­trol, mean­while, nabbed 18,198 peo­ple who had sneaked across the bor­der. Im­mi­grant rights ad­vo­cates have ve­he­mently com­plained about Pres­i­dent Trump’s ex­panded en­force­ment.

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