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ICE deportations fell sharply in FY 2021 because Biden admin restricted agency data

Deportations of 55,590 are lower than 185,884 in FY 2020.

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ICE deportations fell sharply in FY 2021 because Biden admin restricted agency data

Despite a huge migrant crisis at its southern border, deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement fell sharply in the last fiscal year. This drop was accompanied by many Biden administration policies that prohibited ICE agents arresting illegal immigrants.

Preliminary FY 2021 statistics from ICE's website show that there were 55,590 removals, a fraction of previous years.
This is a significant decrease from the 185 884 deportations in FY 2020, and the 267 258 removals in FY 2019. This is despite the huge influx of migrants who came to the U.S. and many of whom were processed and allowed into the U.S.

Although ICE has not yet released its fiscal year end report, prior reporting by Fox News showed that arrests have also fallen sharply. The Center for Immigration Studies, which promotes lower immigration levels overall, had cited data from December showing that ICE removals were lower than in 2019 or 2020 when enforcement was severely curtailed due to the pandemic.

In January 2021, the fourth-month of the fiscal year, the Biden administration took office. They immediately tried to impose a 100 day moratorium on deportations. This move was stopped by a federal judge after a Texas lawsuit.

The Biden administration issued new rules shortly thereafter that prioritized three types of illegal immigrants: recent crossers, aggravated felons, and national security threats. It allows agents to concentrate limited resources on the most urgent threats, according to the administration.

In the months that followed, ICE was prohibited from conducting site enforcement operations or operations in certain areas near courthouses.

A memo was sent to agents in September stating that illegal status shouldn't be used as a basis for deportation or arrest.
In an interview with
CBS News last month, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that "We have fundamentally altered immigration enforcement in the interior" as he justified his controversial decision. "Our policy clearly states that the mere fact of a non-citizen being unlawfully present in the United States is not enough to justify the initiation or continuation of enforcement actions. This is the first time this has ever been done.

"This is a significant shift from the previous administration's indiscriminate enforcement."

Critics warn that ICE guidance could lead to criminals not meeting the narrow criteria of "aggravated felon", staying in the U.S. rather than being deported. President of FAIR, Dan Stein, accused the Biden administration having effectively ended ICE.

"The new data confirms the truth that we knew: President Biden, Secretary Mayorkas don't judiciously enforce our immigration laws. They are unilaterally and willfully nullifying these laws in contravention of their sworn office oaths. Stein stated in a statement that they were putting at risk the safety, security, and health of the American people by doing so.

ICE has confirmed to Fox News that it has not sought to deport a Mexican immigrant accused of drawing swastikas at D.C. Union Station despite his criminal record, prior deportations, and other deportations. ICE stated that it did not seek his removal due to the capital's status as a sanctuary city.

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