President Trump has vowed to swiftly deport “bad hombres” from the United States, but the latest deportation statistics show that slightly fewer criminals were expelled in June than when he took office.
In January, federal immigration officials deported 9,913 criminals. After a slight uptick under Trump, expulsions sank to 9,600 criminals in June.
Mostly deportations have remained lower than in past years under the Obama administration. From January to June, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 61,370 criminals, down from 70,603 during the same period last year.
During the election, Trump vowed to target criminals for deportation and warned that they were “going out fast.” Later, he suggested he would try to find a solution for the “terrific people” who never committed any crimes, and would first deport 2 million to 3 million criminals.
But analysts say he is unlikely to hit those targets. Since January, immigration officials have deported more than 105,000 immigrants, 42 percent of whom had never committed any crime.
Last year, a total of 121,170 people were deported during the same period, and a similar percentage had no criminal records.
John Sandweg, the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said part of the reason for the decline is that illegal border crossings have plunged since Trump took office pledging to build a “big, beautiful” wall and crack down on illegal immigration. Immigrants caught at the border accounted for a significant share of deportations under the Obama administration.
Another factor, however, is that immigration officials are arresting more people who never committed any crime — some 4,100 immigrants in June, more than double the number in January — clogging the already backlogged immigration courts and making it harder to focus on criminals.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement released the deportation figures, which the Post had requested, late Thursday, two days after the Justice Department announced that immigration courts ordered 57,069 people to leave the United States from February to July, a nearly 31 percent increase over the previous year.
However, Justice officials have not said how many of the immigrants ordered deported were actually in custody — or if their whereabouts are even known. Every year scores of immigrants are ordered deported in absentia, meaning they did not attend their hearings and could not immediately be deported.
The deportation figures come as the Trump administration is fighting with dozens of state and local officials nationwide over their refusal to help deport immigrants, and as the administration is attempting to reduce legal and illegal immigration.