Deportations of illegal migrants to the U.S., including those who have committed serious and violent crimes, have dropped to their lowest levels in several decades during the first year of the Biden presidency.
According to newly released data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, total deportations of illegal immigrants from Jan. 21 through July 9 fell by 90% compared to the same time period in 2019 – prior to the sudden onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The decline comes amid illegal border crossings have surged at times to record levels. Upon assuming office, the president promised to pause all removals for 100 days. Coupled with bureaucratic holdup and confirmation proceedings for political appointees, deportations have effectively been stalled.
Jessica Vaughan, of the Center for Immigration Studies, the organization that obtained the data via a Freedom of Information Act Request, wrote a report about the policy implications of the administration's decision to stop deportations at any sort of standard rate.
"This collapse in deportations is undeniably due to the policies President Biden put in place upon taking office, including a deportation moratorium (which was paused by a federal judge) and by severely restricting the types of cases ICE officers can pursue," Vaughan told the Washington Free Beacon.
"Officers are allowed to take action against only the most egregious illegal alien lawbreakers, and even then they have to complete voluminous paperwork for what would normally be routine deportation cases," she continued.
Over the course of the first half of 2021, ICE was able to deport just 6,000 illegal immigrants with serious criminal histories from the U.S. During the same period in 2019, the former administration removed closer to 20,000 illegal migrants with serious criminal pasts.
ICE was recently directed by its acting leader, Ta Johnson, to focus primarily on deporting illegals who pose a risk to "national security, border security, and our public safety."
The directive was part of a plan to have the agency reevaluate its use of resources – though, per the figures above, it is unclear how well that plan is being implemented.
Fiscal 2021 saw a record 1.7 million arrests of illegal migrants at the U.S. border, a greater figure than any previously recorded year, and about triple the average number of arrests made annually during 2013-2019.