Biden's border recipe: Let illegals flood the country and drastically reduce deportations
Under Biden, deportations fell 70% to a 26-year low, leaving some Republicans wondering whether the goal is eventually to abolish ICE.
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After an historic year of illegal migrants entering the United States, the Biden administration has belatedly revealed the impact of another leg of its border strategy: a sharp reduction in arrests and deportations.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported Friday interior immigration arrests fell to 74,082 in fiscal 2021, down from 103,000 in 2020 and 143,000 two years ago.
Likewise, deportations fell a stunning 70% to 59,011 last year, the lowest number in 26 years. The lack of deportations marked a precipitous drop from the Obama and Trump years, when expulsions often topped 300,000 or more annually.
The Biden administration delayed the release of the statistics by three months, drawing the ire of some in Congress, and boasted in its new report it had markedly shifted toward fewer actions targeting immigrants with felony records.
"Approximately 49 percent of all arrests were of convicted criminals," ICE's annual report said, showing a substantial increase in arrests of criminal aliens and sex offenders over the Trump and Obama years.
A "targeted intelligence-driven operation" rounded up a total of "495 noncitizen sex offenders (compared to 194 over the same period in FY 2020) from 54 different countries," ICE said. "Of particular note, 80 percent of those noncitizens had victimized children."
The agency also deported 34 known or suspected terrorists.
The drastic drop in overall arrests and deportations reflects Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas' "enforcement priorities to better focus the Department's resources on the apprehension and removal of non-citizens who are a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security and advance the interests of justice by ensuring a case-by-case assessment of whether an individual poses a threat," ICE said Friday.
"For the first time, enforcement priorities now require an assessment of the individual and the totality of the facts and circumstances to ensure resources are focused most effectively on those who pose a threat," the agency added.
While the Biden administration emphasized a more humanitarian approach, many in Congress sharply criticized the reduced interior immigration enforcement, saying it allows too many of the more than two million illegal aliens who crossed the border in the last year to stay in America indefinitely.
"By signaling that you will not enforce immigration laws, you have invited unprecedented increases in illegal border crossings," Sen. Ted Cruz wrote in a letter Saturday to Mayorkas signed by nearly two dozen GOP colleagues.
"Under your leadership, the humanitarian crisis at our Southern border has spilled over into a crime wave impacting public safety for communities all across this nation," Cruz added. "Strong enforcement of our nation's immigration laws will act as a deterrent and help prevent additional tragic crimes in the future."
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said the massive drop in deportations is evidence of a "slow march to abolish ICE" like many progressives have lobbied for.
On Saturday, the administration announced changes that will further balloon illegal aliens allowed to stay in the country, saying it will no longer expel unaccompanied immigrant children under the pandemic-related Title 42 health rule. Adults and families can still be removed from the country under the provision.
The ACLU cheered the decision, while Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said it was certain to create chaos and harm.
"Democrats want to end Title 42 at the southern border," he tweeted Saturday. "It's one of our last lines of defense against illegal immigration. If they nix the program now, expect immediate chaos."
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) told Just the News in a TV interview earlier this month that the Biden administration is creating stress and chaos for border agents and inhumane conditions for detained aliens simply to fulfill its ideological goal of flooding America with migrants who will be hard to remove.
"The system is being overwhelmed," Tenney said. "They don't have the resources to treat these people even the way that they should be treated or sending them back. Even the other neighboring countries are concerned about it.
"We're not solving this problem. We're not doing anything about it. American citizens are paying the price. And by the way, some of these people are being flown into New York state in the dark of night and being brought into our communities without even our knowledge, and New York state taxpayers are paying for this."