The number of deportations carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement fell to the lowest monthly level on record in April, a drop that comes as illegal border crossings remain at a 20-year high, according to the latest enforcement data, according to a new report from The Washington Post.
ICE deported 2,962 immigrants in April, according to the agency. It is the first time the monthly figure has dipped below 3,000, records show. The April total is a 20% decline from March, when ICE deported 3,716, the report states.
President Joe Biden and his Department of Homeland Security team led by Alejandro Mayorkas have issued new rules to rein in ICE officers.
Biden so far has resisted calls from activists and some lawmakers to abolish ICE, and his top DHS officials say they will reform the agency and restore its reputation by focusing on criminals who pose public-safety or national security threats. The Post reported that in private, ICE officials say their work is being essentially abolished through restrictions on their ability to make arrests and deportations.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has concentrated its limited law enforcement resources on threats to national security, border security, and public safety,” the agency said in a statement Wednesday. “This has allowed ICE to focus on the quality of enforcement actions and how they further the security and safety of our communities rather than the simple quantity of arrests and removals.”
Since Biden changed ICE’s priorities and ordered a 100-day deportation moratorium, interior arrests by ICE officers have plunged more than half, records show.
That is despite a continuing historic crisis at the southern border, which has seen more than 172,000 migrants encountered at the border in March — with officials predicting more than 1,000 “gotaways” getting past Border Patrol every day, according to Fox News.