Besides smashing a record for apprehending a ghastly 2.4 million illegal immigrants along the Mexican border last year, the Biden administration is also making history for drastically slashing the number of criminal aliens that get deported. In its first nine months the administration removed 71% fewer criminal aliens arrested by local police compared to a comparable period in 2019 under President Donald Trump. Overall deportations also declined under Biden from 186,000 in fiscal year 2020 to 59,000 the following year, according to government data provided to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Washington D.C.-based nonprofit is the nation’s only think tank devoted exclusively to the research of U.S. immigration policy and has issued a multitude of informative reports over the years.
This month the nonpartisan group published the findings of its analysis of state and local statistics involving illegal aliens removed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in fiscal years 2019 through 2021. The records include migrants identified by ICE with a biometric match under the Secure Communities program, which uses a federal information-sharing partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to identify aliens in custody without imposing additional requirements on state and local law enforcement. ICE uses fingerprint matching to flag illegal immigrants arrested by local police for state crimes and the agency removes individuals who present significant threats to public safety as determined by the severity of their crime and criminal history, according to ICE’s Secure Communities website. The agency stresses that “the federal government, not the state or local law enforcement agency, determines what immigration enforcement action, if any, is appropriate.”
Under Biden the number has nose-dived. Besides the 71% drop in removals of deportable aliens that came to ICE’s attention after a local criminal arrest, deportations of convicted felons also fell 25% from 36,000 in fiscal year 2020 to 27,000 in fiscal year 2021. CIS found that 51 jurisdictions “experienced acute declines” with criminal removals dipping an unbelievable 90%. Ten states—Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont—saw an “extreme decline in enforcement” of over 80% under Biden, the CIS report says, adding that of the 50 American counties that typically have the highest criminal alien removals 14 experienced the extreme 80-plus percent drop under Biden. About a third of the “high-volume counties” are in Texas, according to the figures obtained by CIS. One of them, Howard County in the state’s western region, is singled out as an example of the public safety implications of the Biden enforcement policies. “It is reasonable to conclude from these statistics that under the Biden policies, ICE is knowingly taking a pass on removing most deportable criminal aliens who have come to their attention after arrest in Howard County, and even knowingly taking a pass on some of the deportable criminal aliens who were convicted of serious or violent crimes in Howard County,” CIS writes in its report. “As a result, Howard County likely is experiencing some degree of repeated crime from those criminal aliens who continue to offend and victimize community members after ICE declined to take action to remove them.”
Researchers at the immigration think tank conclude that the public safety consequences of the Biden interior enforcement policies experienced in Howard County are undoubtedly occurring in hundreds of other jurisdictions around the nation. “State and local authorities should keep track of cases of criminal aliens who are not removed by ICE and bring these cases to the attention of ICE leadership, members of Congress, and the public,” according to CIS. “In addition, through appropriations or otherwise, the new Congress should clarify its expectations with respect to immigration enforcement in the interior, particularly involving criminal aliens, certain of whom are subject to mandatory arrest and detention under the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
The distressing CIS report comes on the heels of a record-breaking year for illegal immigration along the southern border. Besides arresting 2.4 million migrants in fiscal year 2022 (up from 1.73 million in 2021), Border Patrol agents apprehended hundreds of gang members—mostly from the famously violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)—and dozens of people on the national terrorist watchlist. Federal agents also confiscated thousands of pounds of drugs, mainly methamphetamine.