(ESPAÑOL)The Trump administration touted victory over illegal immigration during its first several months, announcing that the number of arrests at the border dropped to the lowest in nearly a half-century as proof that its deterrence efforts have been effective.
Border Patrol agents arrested 310,531 people trying to enter the country illegally during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, a 25 percent decrease from the previous fiscal year. About one-third were from Mexico, according to the Border Patrol. Most of the rest were from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Inside the United States, officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement also arrested 143,470 people, a 25 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, officials at the Department of Homeland Security said. The increase comes after the Trump administration reversed an Obama-era policy that only targeted those with criminal records.
“We have clearly seen the successful results of the president’s commitment to supporting the front-line officers and agents of D.H.S. as they enforce the law and secure our borders,” said Elaine C. Duke, the acting Homeland Security secretary.
The release of the year-end border enforcement and immigrant arrest data came a day after the Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Trump’s ban on travel to the United States by most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea, along with some groups of people from Venezuela, can go into effect while efforts to block it proceed in the courts. The ban had been blocked by lower courts.
Although Homeland Security officials touted the overall drop in arrests, they did note that, since May, arrest had ticked up, mainly because of families and unaccompanied children from Central America trying to escape violence and instability caused by fighting between drug cartels, a years-long trend.
Customs officers at airports, land crossings and seaports also denied entry to 216,370 people, a nearly 25 percent decline from 2016. Customs officers stationed abroad stopped more than 15,000 people from boarding flights to the United States, officials said.