ICE arrests and removals up in Colorado

A U.S. Border Patrol officer stands near prototypes of President Trump's proposed border wall in San Diego.   Frederic J. Brown    
  AFP  Getty Images

A U.S. Border Patrol officer stands near prototypes of President Trump's proposed border wall in San Diego. Frederic J. Brown AFP Getty Images

From Trump's inauguration in January to the end of September, there was a 40% increase in arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice). While people sneaking into the country illegally accounted for the bulk of the interceptions in fiscal 2017, about a quarter showed up at legal ports of entry and were deemed inadmissible by officials.

ICE administrative arrests are up around 20 percent in Colorado and Wyoming from FY 2016, and removals increased 145 percent from a year ago.

Soon after his election win President Trump pledged to deport or incarcerate "probably two million" foreigners with criminal records who he said were gang members and drug dealers, saying the number would be "as high as three million".

ICE reports 92 percent of people the agency administratively arrested between January 20 and the end of FY2017, had a criminal conviction or a pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive or were an illegal re-entrant.

According to the agency, illegal border crossings are at a 45 year low, which is a group that typically makes up a major portion of ICE removals.

Customers and Border Patrol agents made more than 310,000 arrest during the 2017 fiscal year.

The numbers released by the government Tuesday show that deportation officers are taking Mr. Trump's call for an immigration crackdown to heart, even without the funding increase that the president has sought from Congress for more hiring.

According to the agency, the total ICE removal numbers for FY17 decreased 6 percent from last fiscal year, which is something the department attributes to the decline in border arrests.

Administration officials say the decline in Border Patrol arrests to the lowest level since 1971 doesn't undercut justification for Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico.

About 58 per cent of Border Patrol arrests were people from countries other than Mexico - up from 54 per cent from a year earlier - largely from Central America.

That is down from more than 400,000 arrests the year before, equaling a drop of 24 per cent. Starting around 2011, large numbers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras began entering the country in South Texas, which replaced Arizona as the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. During the fiscal year, which included the Obama administration's final months, border authorities stopped people traveling as families 104,997 times on the Mexican border and unaccompanied children 48,681 times. "That's a good thing", said Ronald Vitiello, the acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. He said the number of countries in danger of such a designation also declined - from 47 to 36.

The overwhelming majority of border arrests - 303,916 - happened along the south-western border. CBP said its employees were assaulted 847 times, up from 585 a year earlier and less than 600 each year going back to 2012.

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