The number of illegal immigrants deported from the US jumped in 2022 as hundreds of additional federal agents were deployed to the southern border — but still trailed Trump-era figures, federal officials said Friday.
More than 72,000 border-crossers were nabbed and removed during the 12 months ending Sept. 30, up from just over 59,000 during the 2021 fiscal year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in the agency’s year-end report.
But both numbers are a fraction of the 185,884 illegal aliens deported in fiscal year 2020 during the last year of former President Donald Trump’s watch — and way below the 267,258 who were sent back across the border in the 2019 fiscal year, the report said.
The report was published as ICE deployed 600 special agents to the US-Mexico border, with 300 others dispatched overseas to try to crack down on smuggling operations.
However, the relocation of federal immigration agents to the frontier has reduced the agency’s ability to focus more resources on international busts and non-border deportations.
“ICE dedicated significant resources to helping secure the southwest border and ensuring the processing of migrants,” ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson told reporters Friday, according to Fox News.
“We detailed thousands of law enforcement officers to the southwest border to investigate human smuggling and human trafficking and assisted with processing of migrants into ICE’s Alternatives to Detention program to help ensure migrants being released by [Customs and Border Protection] were meeting their reporting and immigration obligations,” Johnson added.
The agency made 142,750 administrative arrests during the year, nearly double the 2021 figure of 74,082 and the 103,603 busts in 2020 — but behind the 143,099 in 2019.
In all, the report said deportees were removed to more than 150 countries. More than 44,000 had been charged or convicted of crimes, including “2,667 known or suspected gang members, 55 known or suspected terrorists, and seven human rights violators.”
Another 74 deportees were being sought by foreign governments on charges including murder, rape, terrorism and kidnapping.
Thousands of immigrants are now massed along the US border with Mexico in anticipation of the end of Title 42 — a Trump-era policy that turned millions of asylum seekers away.
In November, a judge ordered that the asylum limits be lifted on Dec. 21, but the US Supreme Court extended Title 42 through at least February when it is scheduled to hear a legal challenge brought by 19 Republican-led states.