Customs and Border Protection reports 'dramatic' increase in USA demand for fentanyl

Border arrests drop as deportation arrests spike: report

Border Patrol arrests plunged to a 45-year low, but detentions by deportation officers away from the U.S. -Mexico border soared during President Donald Trump's first months in office, as his efforts to overhaul the nation's immigration system took effect.

The new numbers, which offer the most complete snapshot yet of immigration enforcement under Trump, show that Border Patrol arrests plunged to a 45-year low in the fiscal year that ended September 30, with far fewer people being apprehended between official border crossings.

There were 30 percent more immigration-related arrests in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to ICE's end-of-year report.

In fiscal year 2017, ICE arrested 143,470 people on immigration violations - the highest number of these type of arrests over the past three years.

"We have an obligation to uphold the integrity of our immigration system, but we must do more to step up and close loopholes to protect the American worker, our economy, and our communities". Since the April-low of 11,127 southwest border apprehensions, the numbers have crept back up.

Trump administration officials said despite the lower numbers of people arrested at the border, Trump's proposed wall along the U.S. -Mexico border is still needed.

Ronald Vitiello, Customs and Border Protection's acting deputy commissioner, said he was "very concerned" about increases in families and children crossing in recent months.

The new numbers, which include the last months of the Obama administration, provide new ammunition to Trump critics who question the need to spend billions of dollars on a border wall if crossings are already dropping.


But ICE also took into account in a press release announcing the numbers that there was a 40 percent jump in removals since President Donald Trump took office on January 20 when compared to the previous fiscal year. ICE immigration officers arrested 105,736 criminal aliens in fiscal year 2017, compared to 10,985 in 2016. Between Jan. 20 and September 30, the agency arrested almost 111,000 people, a 42 percent increase over the prior year.

There is a backlog that is being cleared out, including people that have received a final order or removal from an immigration judge, according to ICE officials.

ICE said "interior removals" - people deported after being arrested away from the border - jumped 25 percent to 81,603.

The comparison to a year ago was not immediately known.

"This isn't just about law enforcement, this is about saving lives", he added.

Reasons for the precipitous drop in border arrests are unclear, but Trump's election may have deterred people from trying.

A US border patrol agent escorts men being detained after entering the United States by crossing the Rio Grande river from Mexico, in Roma, Texas, May 11, 2017.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who headed the president's opioid commission, said last week at a hearing with legislators in Baltimore that worldwide drug trafficking problems regarding synthetic painkillers fentanyl and carfentanil need to be addressed before they become even worse in the U.S.

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