The President of the United States Donald trump long insisted on a tougher approach to illegal immigration at the border USA and Mexico and in other parts of the country. As a presidential candidate, trump has promised to build a boundary wall, to reduce the number of illegal immigrants. This writes Pew Research.
Shortly after the election, trump said that his administration is deporting 3 million illegal immigrants with a criminal record living in the United States.
Below are data on three key measures, detention at the borders, arrests and internal deportations — on the basis of the latest available statistics for the full year of Customs and border protection (CBP), Immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) and the Department of homeland security (DHS). The analysis also includes data on how the different immigration policies and the Agency’s perceived by the US public on the basis of surveys by the Pew Research Center.
The number of detentions of illegal immigrants on the U.S. border and Mexico in the 2019 financial year rose to the highest level in the past 12 years. 851 508 arrests, was in the last fiscal year (October 2018 — September 2019) were more than twice more than the previous year (396 579), but still far below levels in the early 2000-ies.
The increase in the number of concerns associated with the increasing number of immigrants seeking asylum. Has changed the demographic profile of persons crossing the border: most of the people arrested last year were men, with plenty of families and not single adults.
Most of the detainees were from countries of the Northern triangle, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, which fought with the violence and lack of economic opportunities in their countries. This represents a noticeable break with the 2000’s and early 2010’s, when Mexicans were the majority of detainees.
A sharp increase in the number of families in Central America seeking asylum has led to the fact that CBP has called a “humanitarian crisis crisis on the border of national security.” In response, the administration trump has made far-reaching changes to the asylum procedure, to prevent the entry of immigrants in the United States along the southwest border.
One of the noticeable changes is the policy, informally known as “Stay in Mexico”, according to which a person seeking asylum at the southwest border, waiting in Mexico, while their applications are being considered.
In the past, many immigrants detained at the border, waited in the United States — the average for many years pending the resolution of their cases.
When it comes to public opinion, Americans believe a variety of political steps are important to deal with the situation at the border. In the survey Pew Research Center conducted in July 2019, 86% of the U.S. adult population said that it is very important to increase the number of judges dealing with asylum and 82% stated that it was important to provide a safe environment for individuals seeking asylum on arrival.
At the same time, about three quarters (74%) stated that it is very important to reduce the number of people coming to the United States in search of asylum, while 69% stated that it was important to increase assistance to the countries of origin of asylum-seekers.
Arrests of illegal immigrants in the interior of the country
While CBP ensures compliance with immigration laws at the border, ICE is mandated to detain illegal immigrants within the country. The number of domestic arrests by the ICE (known as “administrative arrest”), increased by 30% in the 2017 financial year after trump signed a decree giving the Agency more authority to detain illegal immigrants, including those without a criminal record.
They rose again in fiscal 2018, but declined in fiscal year 2019 and remain much lower than during the first term of President Barack Obama.
In the annual report detailing its operations, ICE pointed to several factors explaining the decrease in domestic arrests in fiscal 2019. The growing demand for law enforcement on the border “jeopardize the ability of ICE to carry out coercive measures in internal Affairs”, said the Agency.
There’s also pointed to “the lack of cooperation from the growing number of jurisdictions across the country” and “cities of refuge”, which has a policy limiting cooperation with Federal immigration authorities.
The administration of the trump ICE has been criticized by Democrats, some of whom called for the abolition of the office. In a survey conducted in September 2019, only 19% of Democrats expressed a positive opinion about the Agency, compared to 70% among Republicans and supporters of the Republican party.
ICE was the only Federal Department of 16 in the survey — and accepted by the public, more negative than positive (54% negative opinion against 42% positive).
The deportation of illegal immigrants
Illegal immigrants detained at the border or in the interior of the country, may be subject to deportation, formally known as “removal.”
In fiscal 2018, the most recent year for which complete data are available, — CBP and ICE together have spent 337 287 the deportation of illegal immigrants, which is 17% more than in the previous year, according to the Department of homeland security. But the deportation remained below the levels recorded during the most part of the Obama administration, including a three-year period between 2012 and 2014 fiscal years, when there were more than 400,000 a year.
ICE, which is most of the deportations, said in its latest report that its operations in the expulsion faced several challenges, including the growing backlog of cases in immigration courts and “judicial and legislative restrictions” that impede the deportation of minors and family members of illegal immigrants.
Just over half of Americans (54%) said in the survey Pew Research Center conducted in September 2019, the increase in the number of deportations is a very important goal of immigration policy. But these views were sharply divided on the parties: about eight out of ten Republicans (83%) supported this policy, compared with only three out of ten Democrats (31%).
The increase in the number of deportations has taken a lower place in the list of priorities of the public than some other steps, such as increasing the level of security along the U.S. border and Mexico and the creation of conditions for legal stay of immigrants in the United States legally.