US border arrests plunge, deportation arrests soar

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"We need to hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for putting innocent lives at risk by shielding criminal illegals from law enforcement", he said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed approximately 226,000 people from the country in the 2017 fiscal year, which ended on September 30, down 6 percent from the previous year.

Data from ICE, though, suggested that processes to deport arrested illegal immigrants have become even more backed up than before, despite Trump's orders to increase the number of courts and judges handling such cases.

During the 2015 fiscal year, ICE arrested 2,351 people in Colorado and Wyoming and removed 1,156 people. That's about a 40 percent increase from a year ago.

Figures released by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday show Trump is delivering on his pledge to more strictly control immigration and suggest that would-be immigrants are getting the message to not even think about crossing the border illegally. At the same time, arrests along the Mexican border have fallen sharply, apparently as fewer people have tried to sneak into the U.S.

Customs and Border Protection authorities also uncovered several hundred pounds of the drug in other operations in the most recent 12-month period.

The newly released data provides the most comprehensive look yet at how immigration enforcement is changing under the Trump administration.

South of the Arizona border in the Mexican town of Nogales, numerous deportees who were eating breakfast Monday at a dining room run by a nonprofit group had been picked up in the USA far from the border.

"We are seeing a lot of people now who have long established ties in the United States", said Joanna Foote Williams, the Kino Border Initiative's director of education and advocacy, as about 40 men and a few women ate eggs, refried beans and tortillas.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who picked immigration as one of the key areas to focus on, is keeping his promise by cracking down heavily on immigration policies.

Trump campaigned as an immigration hard-liner, accusing Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to the USA and promising to build "a great wall on our southern border".

But officials stressed that they still believe the border wall is necessary nonetheless.

"Why would we not want to build a wall?" he asked.

Border Patrol says it's still concerned with the increase of families and unaccompanied children trying to come into the country from Central America, as well as an "uptick in the smuggling of opioids and other hard narcotics".

A USA 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. Starting around 2011, large numbers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras began entering the country in South Texas, which replaced Arizona as the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.

CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello said that the agency was now studying prototypes for the wall Trump has ordered for the almost 2,000-mile (3,200 kilometer) border with Mexico. The 2017 deportations were lower than at any time during the Obama administration, according to previous DHS statistics.

CBP also said inspectors at land crossings, airports and seaports denied entry 216,370 times during the fiscal year, a decline of 24 percent from 2016.

The overwhelming majority of border arrests - 303,916 - happened along the south-western border.

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