ICE Deportations Only Half Levels of Five Years Ago
Newly released Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data-updated through October 2017- provide case-by-case details on each ICE deportation. In general, as shown in Figure 1, ICE deportations have dropped by almost half during the last five years. While there is month-to-month variability, the number deported also has continued to decline since January 2017 when President Trump assumed office. In October 2012, ICE deported 34,543 individuals. By December 2016 that figure had declined to 20,833. And by October 2017 ICE recorded only 18,428 individuals were deported.
While removals through Secure Communities have recently received the most attention, since February 1, 2017 only about one out of three ICE deportations (35%) were through this program. The remaining two-thirds include those from the interior of the U.S. as well as individuals picked up within 100 miles of the border who weren't immediately deported by CBP.
A major contributor to these declining numbers over the past five years is believed to be declining apprehensions along the southwest border with Mexico. However, because ICE figures do NOT include the large number of individuals deported directly by the Border Patrol and Field Offices of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), it is difficult to assess the precise impact of declining border apprehensions on the latest ICE figures. This is because ICE is now withholding these case-by-case details disingenuously claiming the agency no longer tracks the information needed in order to know whether its deportations were originally the result of ICE versus CBP apprehensions.
Criminal Records on Individuals Trump Deported
During the nine months of February 2017 - October 2017, a total of 156,071 individuals were deported by ICE. Half of these individuals had either never been convicted of a crime (34%), or the only conviction was for their illegal entry/reentry and not for any offense committed after they had arrived (15%). An additional 10 percent had been convicted either for driving while intoxicated (DUI) or for a simple traffic violation. Only a quarter (24%) had been convicted of a serious offense that ICE classifies as a "Level 1" crime. See Figure 2 and Table 1.
For the subset of deportations attributed by ICE to its Secure Communities program, 95 percent of these involve individuals who have been convicted of some criminal offense. This is not surprising, since this program identifies individuals through fingerprint records submitted to the FBI, typically by local law enforcement agencies. However, among those convicted, high frequency offenses involve immigration (illegal entry/reentry), DUI and simple traffic offenses. Only four out of ten (41%) had been convicted of a serious (Level 1) crime.
A more detailed breakdown of the most serious conviction for the top 100 categories of crimes is provided in Table 2 at the end of this report. In addition to those highlighted in Table 1, various top spots are dominated by convictions for drug possession and sales. Offenses involving marijuana are more numerous than for cocaine or heroin. This was true not only for all individuals ICE deported, but also for those deported under Secure Communities.
Updated Web Tools Provide Access to ICE Deportation Data
The data TRAC has compiled from these internal ICE records documenting month-by-month particulars on the individuals ICE deported are publicly available via newly updated online query tools that accompany this report. The first tool displays data on all ICE deportations through October 2017, while a second covers the same time period but focuses just on Secure Community removals. The latter tool provides breakdowns for each state and county in the country.
 For simplicity, the terms deportations and removals are used interchangeably in this report. The numbers reported cover the total of ICE removals, voluntary departures and returns.
 ICE has published figures on how many FY 2017 deportations it claims were from the interior so it is clear that the agency does have a system for tracking these. Thus, it is puzzling why ICE won't release the records on which this statistic was presumably based, or allow the public to examine more closely these month-by-month trends.