How the Unprecedented Border Crisis Impacted 2019 Immigration Enforcement: ICE Acting Director

December 12, 2019 Updated: December 13, 2019

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Matthew T. Albence provided details in a Dec. 11 statement on how the current U.S.-Mexico border crisis impacted various areas of immigration enforcement.

During the fiscal year (FY) 2019, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested approximately 143,000 aliens and removed about 267,000 in an effort to restore “integrity to the nation’s immigration system,” an increase of 11,173 from FY 2018.

“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,” Albence said. “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.”

During FY 2019, the total number of people apprehended or not admitted at the border increased 68 percent from FY 2018. However, the total arrests by ICE dropped by almost 10 percent.

Albence said the decrease was foreseen by ICE because it was forced to redirect its limited resources to combat the unprecedented surge of illegal border crossing, adding that this “clearly demonstrated the detrimental effect the border crisis had on public safety.”

The agency said that over 86 percent of those arrested were convicted criminals or had pending charges.

Of the people ICE arrested and removed as part of its interior enforcement efforts from areas beyond 100 miles of the U.S. border, 91 percent were convicted criminals or were facing criminal charges.

“Despite our significant challenges, and as evidenced by the tremendous work of the professional men and women of ERO, ICE remains committed to removing dangerous, recidivist criminals from our communities and restoring integrity to the nation’s immigration system,” Albence said.

Last week, ICE New York Field Office Director Thomas Decker commented on the dangers of sanctuary cities in an interview with Fox News.

“You have individuals, subjects who’ve been arrested by the police—and they should be removed from the country—being released back into the community. So what that tells the other immigrants or the citizens of that community is that all of a sudden, if you go and be a witness, if you’re a victim, going to the police, that person is going to be released right back into the community,” Decker said in the interview.

“If you are coming into the United States, you’re a criminal coming here illegally, you would go to a sanctuary city,” Decker said.