ICE conducted 267,258 removals — up from 256,058 in fiscal year 2018. According to the report, nearly all (91 percent) of the removed included individuals with criminal convictions or pending criminal charges at the time of arrest. Arrests, however, fell to 143,000 from 159,000.
In fiscal year 2019, individuals were charged for a variety of violent crimes that included homicide (1,900), kidnapping (1,800), sex offenses (12,000) and assault (45,000). The vast majority of arrests — 86 percent — involved pending criminal charges or criminal convictions, according to the report.
The report came as the agency fended off criticism over its handling of the ongoing migrant crisis, which President Trump has responded to by tightening restrictions on entry and calling for additional deportations.
“There is no doubt that the border crisis, coupled with the unwillingness of some local jurisdictions that choose to put politics over public safety, has made it more difficult for ICE to carry out its congressionally mandated interior enforcement mission,” ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence said.
The agency has also encountered challenges from sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to honor its requests to detain illegal immigrants suspected of committing crimes.
“No matter where you live in the U.S., your safety is impacted by criminal aliens who came to this country illegally and now live in your neighborhoods,” Albence said.
“Despite our significant challenges, and as evidenced by the tremendous work of the professional men and women of ERO [Enforcement and Removal Operations], ICE remains committed to removing dangerous, recidivist criminals from our communities and restoring integrity to the nation’s immigration system,” he added.
Democrats have criticized immigration enforcement, in particular, for the way it treated migrants and migrant families in federal custody. According to ICE, its non-detained docket reached a record 3.2 million cases. In total, ICE removed 5,700 — 110 percent more than in the previous fiscal year — migrants identified as family unit members.