Newly released records from President Joe Biden’s administration show that deportations of criminal illegal immigrants have plunged since Biden took office.
Over 72,300 convicted criminals living in the United States were deported in fiscal year 2019, according to the records. That number dropped to about 54,000 in fiscal year 2020, and to just 29,326 in fiscal year 2021.
At the U.S.–Mexico border, some 90,000 illegal alien convicts were deported in fiscal year 2019. That number dropped to 58,923 the following fiscal year and just 15,044 in fiscal year 2021.
The records “confirm that Biden administration policies have caused a sharp decline in all removals, and in the removal of criminal aliens,” Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, said in a blog post.
The center published the records after obtaining them through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not respond to requests for comment.
Fiscal years start in October. President Donald Trump was in office for the entirety of fiscal years 2019 and 2020. Under Trump, immigration ground to a near-halt in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Biden, illegal immigration has soared to record levels.
Biden was in office for all but three-and-a-half months of fiscal year 2021, which ended in September 2021.
Soon after being sworn in, Biden signed multiple orders aimed at relaxing immigration enforcement.
That included reversing a Trump order that called for enforcing the law against illegal immigrants living in the United States and for revoking funding for jurisdictions that have in place s0-called sanctuary policies, or policies that largely forbid acting against illegal aliens.
Biden administration officials later issued directives to ICE limiting which immigrants should be removed, despite all of them being in violation of the law.
“The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wrote in one of the directives. “We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way. Justice and our country’s well-being require it.”
One of the primary directives has been blocked nationwide.
ICE released some data earlier this year, including figures showing that just 59,011 illegal immigrants were deported in fiscal year 2020. In the report, ICE Director Tae Johnson said that ICE removed an average of 937 aggravated felons per month, but the new records don’t align with that claim.