U.S. officials say Trump has cast wider net for deportations

U.S. officials say Trump has cast wider net for deportations

In all, the Border Patrol made 310,531 arrests during the fiscal year that ended September 30, a decline of 25 percent from a year earlier and the lowest level since 1971. That's the lowest its been in at least 17 years.

The actual number of illegal borders crossings isn't known because many people slip in undetected.

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"We're going to arrest them either way", Homan said. That's nearly a 24 percent drop from a year ago.

But ICE officers arrested far more suspected illegal immigrants in the months after President Donald Trump took office than in the same period past year.

Media captionWhere do America's undocumented immigrants live?

In practice this has meant more arrests and more leeway for agents in the field. She pointed to Trump's rhetoric, as well as his policies.

"Everyone who is not white man is being attacked by this administration", claimed, Ambar Pinto the Deportation Defense Hotline Manager at United We Dream.

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ICE, whose officers pick up people for deportation, made 143,470 arrests, an increase of 25 per cent from 114,434 a year earlier.

"This year, we've seen the ramping up of an already out-of-control deportation machine", she said in a statement in response the end-of-year numbers. Despite this, Trump is seeking to increase each agency's budget.

Thomas Homan, ICE's deputy director and senior official performing the duties of the director, defended the president, saying his policies have led to a 45-year low on border crossings. ICE says that the total number of removals nationwide was down 6 percent this year compared to last year, which the agency attributed "to the decline in border apprehensions".

ICE said "interior removals" - people deported after being arrested away from the border - jumped 25 per cent to 81,603 from 65,332 the previous year. "If you're in this country illegally, we're looking for you and we're going to look to apprehend you". Arrests were up 20 percent over the same period, from 2,284 in 2016. Between Jan. 20 and September 30, the agency arrested almost 111,000 people, a 42 percent increase over the prior year. Those arrests have sparked fear and anger in immigrant communities, where many worry the government is now targeting them.

The comparison to past year was not immediately known.

"I can speculate that it's just harder to cross the border and people are more resistant because of that", Vitiello said. At the same time, arrests along the Mexican border have fallen sharply, apparently as fewer people have tried to sneak into the U.S.

New data released by DHS show that Border Patrol arrests are at a 46-year low. And removals resulting from an agency arrest went up 37 percent since January 20, ICE said. And, most recently, the USA president put the lives of some 300,000 people - who were protected under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) - in limbo. But, "to take the 1,000 arrests a day to say that we're finished, it's not stating what the facts are". "It's about removing that magnet".

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