Deportations Under Biden Drop by Over 70% to a Nearly 3-Decade Low
Deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement dropped by over 70 percent during fiscal year 2021 to a level not seen since the 1990s.
According to preliminary data published by ICE, there were 55,590 removals in FY 2021, during which President Joe Biden took office and significantly changed the agency’s guidelines.
By way of comparison, ICE removed 185,884 people from the country in FY 2020, when Donald Trump was president. In FY 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, ICE carried out 267,258 removals.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CBS News last month that the Biden administration has greatly narrowed the scope of those subject to deportation.
“We have fundamentally changed immigration enforcement in the interior,” Mayorkas said. “For the first time ever, our policy explicitly states that a non-citizen’s unlawful presence in the United States will not by itself be a basis for the initiation of an enforcement action.”
“This is a profound shift away from the prior administration’s indiscriminate enforcement,” he added.
On the day Biden took office in January 2021, he ordered a 100-day moratorium on deportations, which a federal judge in Texas blocked less than a week later.
However, the following month, ICE announced new deportation guidelines, prioritizing recent border crossers, aggravated felons and those identified as national security threats.
“By focusing our limited resources on cases that present threats to national security, border security, and public safety, our agency will more ably and effectively execute its law enforcement mission,” acting ICE Director Tae Johnson said in a statement at the time.
The agency added in an accompanying news release that “absent exigent circumstances, ICE’s field personnel will need to obtain prior approval from their chain of command before pursuing cases that do not meet the presumption criteria.”
The approximately 55,000 removals in FY 2021 are the least since 1995, when the federal government deported 50,924. Since 1997, the number of removals each year has ranged from about 115,000 to 405,000.
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, accused the Biden administration of effectively abolishing ICE, Fox News reported.
“The new data confirms what we already knew: President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas aren’t judiciously enforcing our immigration laws; they are willfully and unilaterally nullifying those laws in defiance of their sworn oaths of office,” Stein said.
“In doing so, they are compromising the health, safety and security of the American people.”
Among the illegal immigrants in the nation whom the Biden administration has chosen not to deport is Geraldo Pando, a Mexican citizen charged with vandalizing Union Station in Washington, D.C., last month.
The Washington Examiner reported that the 34-year-old with a prior felony record drew Nazi swastikas on the exterior walls of the train station, just blocks from the U.S. Capitol.
Biden receives his lowest marks in polling for his handling of immigration.
A RealClearPolitics average of polls shows just 33.3 percent approve, while 54.8 percent disapprove.
A version of this article originally appeared on Patriot Project.
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