The number of deportations carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last month fell to the lowest monthly level on record, a drop that comes as illegal border crossings remain at a 20-year high, reports the Washington Post. ICE deported 2,962 immigrants in April, according to the agency. It is the first time the monthly figure has dipped below 3,000 and marks a 20 percent decline from March, when ICE deported 3,716. President Joe Biden and his Department of Homeland Security team have issued new rules to rein in ICE officers, but have resisted calls from activists and some lawmakers to abolish ICE, instead promising to reform the agency and restore its reputation by focusing on criminals who pose public-safety or national security threats.
Since Biden changed ICE’s priorities and ordered a 100-day deportation moratorium, interior arrests by ICE officers have plunged by more than half. The latest federal data shows ICE has recorded about 37,000 deportations during the past seven months, putting the agency on pace for fewer than 55,000 deportations for the 2021 fiscal year and marking the first time that figure has fallen below 100,000. ICE deportations peaked at more than 400,000 in 2013 and averaged about 240,000 during Trump’s first three years in office. ICE officers have made about 2,500 arrests per month since Biden took office, down from about 6,000 during the final months of Trump’s presidency and an average of over 10,000 per month before the pandemic.