Immigration arrests and deportations are rising under the Trump administration, according to the latest statistics released Thursday — though they’re still far shy of the levels during the peak years of President Obama.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it has removed more than 191,000 people through the first nine months of the fiscal year, which is 9 percent higher than the same period in 2017.
Those deportations span both people nabbed at the border by Customs and Border Protection, and in the interior of the U.S. by ICE, where arrests are up 17 percent so far this year.
Of the deportees, nearly all either had criminal records or were defying previous deportation orders.
President Trump has put a major focus on interior enforcement of immigration laws, erasing Obama-era rules that had carved out most immigrants living in the U.S. without permission of any danger of deportation.
And indeed, deportations over the last nine months are higher than the same period in fiscal year 2016, which was the last full year under Mr. Obama.
But the numbers still can’t touch the records Mr. Obama set in the middle of his terms, when Hispanic leaders angrily dubbed him “deporter-in-chief.”
In 2012, he had deported 310,000 people by this point — 40 percent more than Mr. Trump.
Those numbers were boosted by the Secure Communities program, which saw ICE officers check through local prison and jail lists to see which inmates were deportable.
By the end of the Obama administration, facing an outcry from the president’s liberal base, Homeland Security canceled that program and imposed stricter standards on whom it could net.
That, combined with the Obama administration’s limits on the pool of immigrants it would target, caused deportations to plummet.
Mr. Trump has tried to boost those numbers, but he’s run into roadblocks with sanctuary cities and states, which hinder their prisons’ and jails’ cooperation in turning over immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally.