Deportations dropped in 2014

A consolidated enforcement statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shows that for the fiscal year 2014, DHS returned and removed from the country a total of 577,295 undocumented immigrants. The number of deportations reported at 414,651 was down by 23,940 or 5 percent from the 438,421 deportations in 2013. 162,814 inadmissible aliens voluntarily returned to their country of origin or withdrew their application for admission.

The report also shows that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of the DHS, made a total of 315,943 removals and returns. Apprehensions made by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency in charge of protecting the borders, totaled 486,651, most of which were along the southwest border.

The consolidated statistics from the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics, ICE, and CBP was reported and released together for the first time in line with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s effort to promote transparency and improve the agency’s manner in collecting and reporting statistics.

Impacting enforcement operations was the surge of Central American families and unaccompanied children illegally crossing the border. According to the report, the Border Patrol apprehensions of individuals coming from Mexico dropped 14 percent while there was a 68 percent increase of individuals coming from other countries who were caught at the border, a vast majority of those coming from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Deportation of individuals coming from other countries require more time and resources compared to Mexican nationals. They would need to be housed while they are being processed for removal and would need air transportation to return them to their home countries.

The report also reveals that of the 315,943 individuals removed and returned by ICE, 213,719 were apprehended while attempting to illegally enter the U.S. and 102,224 were apprehended inside the country. Eighty-five percent of the interior removals and returns involved aliens convicted of crimes.

The number was significantly up from the number of criminals removed in fiscal year 2011 which was only 67 percent. Also, 98 percent of ICE Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO) removals and returns were under an enforcement priority category.

This is a result of the government’s continued efforts to “refine its enforcement priorities” by focusing its resources on the removal of those who are considered threats to public safety and national security.

Because interior enforcement operations on convicted criminal aliens especially those at-large require significantly more resources and time, this contributed to the decline in the number of deportations for fiscal year 2014.

The report also noted that the decrease in the number of deportations was attributed to the refusal of state and local enforcement to cooperate with ICE detainers or request to detain dangerous criminals or priority individuals for subsequent transfer to ICE custody. 10,182 ICE detainers were not honored in fiscal year 2014 which required more resources in the apprehension of criminal aliens at-large.

Meanwhile, a total of 8,013 individuals convicted of serious crimes were apprehended by Border Patrol officers at ports of entry. A total of 223,712 inadmissible individuals were also stopped at port of entries or an increase of more than 9 percent from fiscal year 2013.

According to Secretary Johnson, “DHS’s 2014 year-end enforcement statistics demonstrate that our front line officers and agents continue to execute their critical mission in a smart and effective way, focusing our resources on convicted criminals and those attempting to illegally cross our nation’s borders.” Although they have met many challenges, he indicated that “DHS components have adjusted and continue to successfully secure our borders and protect our communities.”