Year in Review:
ICE Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Report
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Report focuses on the agency’s efforts to help secure the Southwest Border and rebuild a humane and orderly immigration system; combat transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), including disrupting the supply of opioids coming to U.S. communities; showcase the agency’s continued commitment to transparency; and highlight the successes of its dedicated, resilient workforce. The report details ICE’s broad mission, which includes counterterrorism, counterproliferation, counternarcotics, immigration law enforcement within the interior, and the investigation of crimes ranging from customs fraud to human trafficking and child exploitation. It also showcases how ICE’s unique combination of legal authorities and intelligence-driven law enforcement capabilities position the agency to respond to a tremendous range of increasingly complex national and international threats.
Enforcement and Removal Operations
One of ERO’s most important law enforcement functions involves removing high priority noncitizens who threaten public safety and national security. This group includes noncitizens who are known or suspected of involvement in terrorism or gang activity and those who have committed egregious human rights violations or war crimes prior to coming to the United States.
In FY 2023, ERO removed 3,406 known or suspected gang members, an increase of 27.7% over FY 2022, and 139 known or suspected terrorists, a 148.2% increase over FY 2022. It also removed six human rights violators.
ERO officials made 170,590 administrative arrests, representing a 19.5% increase in overall arrests from FY 2022. Of the total arrests ICE conducted in FY 2023, 43% of those arrested had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, up from 32.5% in FY 2022. In the group of 73,822 individuals with criminal histories, there were 290,708 charges and convictions for an average of four per individual. These included many serious charges or convictions for offenses such as:
- Homicide (1,713).
- Kidnapping (1,655).
- Sexual assault (4,390).
- Assault (33,209).
- Robbery (3,097).
- Burglary (6,964).
- Weapons offenses (7,520).
In FY 2023, ERO conducted 91,497 at-large arrests compared to the 85,343 at-large arrests conducted in FY 2022 for a 7.2% increase.
In FY 2023, ERO deployed more than 1,300 employees — 17% of its workforce — to support DHS efforts to manage irregular migration at the Southwest Border. As a result, ERO had to carefully rebalance resources that were previously devoted to its interior immigration enforcement mission, including critical public safety and national security operations and case management efforts. However, the May 2023 sunset of the Title 42 public health order, which allowed authorities to quickly expel migrants on health-related grounds, enabled ERO to focus additional resources on public safety and national security threats in the U.S. interior.
ERO also worked with its agency and department partners to launch several family-focused initiatives geared toward the fair, humane, and expedited processing and removal of families who don’t establish eligibility to remain in the United States, including the following:
- In May 2023, ICE rolled out the Family Expedited Removal Management initiative, which focuses on noncitizen family units placed in expedited removal proceedings under Title 8 authority.
- In June 2023, ICE operationalized the Alternatives to Detention Family Unit Removal Initiative, a program that focuses on families who are enrolled in ICE’s ATD program and those who regularly report to ERO ATD sites.
Homeland Security Investigations
During FY 2023, in collaboration with strategic partners in the United States and abroad, HSI special agents gathered evidence to identify and build criminal cases against TCOs, terrorist networks and facilitators, and other criminal elements that threaten the homeland. HSI worked with prosecutors to indict and arrest violators, execute search warrants, seize criminally derived money and assets, and take other actions to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks.
Throughout the year, HSI conducted 33,108 criminal arrests and seized over 1.2 million pounds of narcotics, over $949 million in criminally derived currency and assets, and over $148 million in virtual currency. It also identified and/or assisted 1,806 victims of child exploitation and assisted 731 victims of human trafficking.
In FY 2023, recognizing the unprecedented epidemic of deaths from illicit opioids, HSI also developed and implemented its Strategy for Combating Illicit Opioids. It builds upon many of HSI’s investigative authorities and capabilities in combating transnational criminal organizations while focusing on the following four core goals, all of which align with the National Drug Control Strategy:
- Reduce the international supply of illicit opioids.
- Reduce the domestic supply of illicit opioids.
- Attack the enablers of illicit finance, cybercrime and weapons smuggling.
- Conduct outreach with private industry.
Stemming the flow of firearms, firearm components and ammunition
Led by HSI at the National Targeting Center-Investigations (NTC-I), Operation Without a Trace (WaT) is a unified DHS strategy to combat the illicit flow of firearms, firearms components, and ammunition from the United States into Mexico. Operation WaT is a federal partnership between HSI, CBP, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in collaboration with the government of Mexico. In FY 2023, HSI field offices initiated 246 new Operation WaT investigations, resulting in 185 criminal arrests and the seizure of approximately 847 firearms, 3,788 ammunition magazines, and more than 152,232 rounds of ammunition.
During FY 2023, HSI was recognized by its partners for its narcotics interdiction efforts, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). HSI won three out of nine ONDCP award categories, including:
- Emerging Threat Identification, Detection and Monitoring: HSI El Paso Operation Chain Breaker for its efforts at interdicting pill presses, die molds and other parts used in the manufacture of illicit counterfeit pills
- Illicit Finance Investigations: HSI Chicago Operation Falling Star and its financial investigations group, which targeted a Chinese money laundering organization operating in concert with Mexican TCOs
- Land Interdiction: HSI San Diego Costa Pacifico Money Laundering Task Force Operation Pipe Dream, which resulted in the discovery of a sophisticated drug smuggling tunnel.
Transnational Criminal Investigative Units
HSI’s Transnational Criminal Investigative Units (TCIUs) is comprised of trained foreign law enforcement officials who work closely alongside HSI to investigate and prosecute individuals involved in transnational criminal activity.
In FY 2023, HSI continued to expand the TCIU program internationally by adding a new partner country and increasing the HSI TCIU global footprint to 16 countries. HSI training efforts conducted throughout FY 2023 led to the addition of approximately 200 TCIU personnel members from eight countries.
In FY 2023, TCIU teams conducted 2,150 criminal arrests and seized over 232,218 pounds of illegal narcotics and precursor chemicals, 484 firearms, 42,957 rounds of ammunition, $10,496,905 in counterfeit goods and $25,858,760 in general merchandise. These results directly disrupt the operations of TCOs that threaten the homeland and help safeguard the United States and its borders.
Center for Countering Human Trafficking
The DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) oversees the DHS mission to combat human trafficking and the importation of goods produced with forced labor. By co-locating and augmenting existing DHS functions in a single, state-of-the-art center, it provides a “whole of government” approach to combating these crimes and will allow ICE and HSI to continue to lead the way in an integrated, victim-centered approach to the investigation of human trafficking.
In FY 2023, HSI engagement efforts with Congress led to the codification and the expansion of the CCHT via the passage of the Countering Human Trafficking Act of 2021; statutory authorization for the payment of salary stipends to HSI’s TCIUs; and the reauthorization of DHS’s Joint Task Forces.
Victim Assistance Program
HSI's Countering Transnational Organized Crime’s (CTOC) Victim Assistance Program (VAP) ensures that trafficking and other victims are advised of their rights and receive necessary assistance in compliance with federal statutes and U.S. Attorney General’s Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance. In FY 2023, VAP personnel assisted 7,110 identified victims, including 1,919 minors. Of these individuals, 731 were further identified as human trafficking victims and 1,647 were identified as victims of child exploitation. Forensic interview specialists assigned to SAC offices throughout the United States conducted 1,515 interviews, to assist HSI special agents with criminal prosecutions.
Office of the Principal Legal Advisor
In FY 2023, OPLA represented DHS in 1,300,000 removal hearings before the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. It also supported the completion of over 460,000 cases, including 49,000 orders of relief, 217,500 removal orders and 84,000 dismissals in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion while managing more than 1,800 human rights violator cases and over 4,000 national security cases nationwide.
Office of Management and Administration
M&A empowers ICE mission’s through a diverse workforce dedicated to excellence. Its programs provide the essential infrastructure for ICE operations through innovative information technology and business solutions, a dynamic human capital program, and the effective and efficient management of resources through sound financial management policies, standards, and system functions.
During FY 2023, M&A’s Office of the Chief Information Officer successfully developed and published the ICE Data Modernization Strategy. As part of its role in leading technological efforts and responding to the surge of noncitizens at the Southwest Border, OCIO also deployed a capability for noncitizens to change their addresses online and opt-in to receive mail-in notices to appear.
Office of Professional Responsibility
The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is responsible for upholding ICE's professional standards through a multidisciplinary approach of security, inspections, and investigations. It ensures organizational health, integrity, and accountability by managing security programs, conducting independent reviews, and investigating allegations of misconduct.
OPR leverages institutional knowledge and subject matter expertise to provide objective, timely, and comprehensive findings, promoting confidence in ICE operations, mitigating risk, and aiding senior leadership's strategic thinking. It operates through three dynamic program offices: ICE Security, ICE Inspections, and OPR Investigations.