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12/18/2014

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DHS releases end of year statistics

WASHINGTON — As part of Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s effort to enhance the manner in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) collects and reports statistics, today DHS released its fiscal year (FY) 2014 enforcement statistics from the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In a continued focus by Secretary Johnson to promote transparency and timely reporting to Congress and the public, for the first time this year, ICE, CBP, and DHS’s consolidated statistics are all being reported and released together.

In FY 2014, DHS conducted a total of 577,295 removals and returns, including 414,481 removals and 162,814 returns. ICE had a total of 315,943 removals or returns, and CBP made 486,651 apprehensions. These figures reflect the Department’s commitment to border security and public safety by focusing on smart and effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of convicted criminals and recent border entrants. Owing in large measure to the rise in illegal migration from Central America this past year, both apprehensions and removals of Guatemalan, Honduran, and El Salvadorian nationals were up. Further, as ICE continues to refine its enforcement priorities to ensure that the agency focuses its resources on public safety and national security threats, 85 percent of ICE’s FY 2014 removals and returns from the interior of the United States were of convicted criminals.

“DHS’s 2014 year-end enforcement statistics demonstrate that our front line officers and agents continue to execute their critical mission in a smart and effective way, focusing our resources on convicted criminals and those attempting to illegally cross our nation’s borders,” said Secretary Johnson. “This year’s statistics are informed by a number of complex and shifting factors, most notably the 68 percent increase in migration from countries other than Mexico, predominately from Central America, and a 14 percent drop in Mexican migration since fiscal year 2013. The unprecedented surge of unaccompanied children and families last summer, as well as the increasing number of jurisdictions declining to honor ICE detainers, also impacted DHS enforcement operations. Notwithstanding these challenges, DHS components have adjusted and continue to successfully secure our borders and protect our communities.”

Key findings in FY 2014:

  • The Border Patrol made 486,651 apprehensions nationwide, nearly all of which were along the southwest border; 468,407 of those apprehensions were of individuals from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
  • 98 percent of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations’ (ERO) FY 2014 removals and returns met one or more of ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.
  • 85 percent of all interior ICE removals and returns involved individuals who had been previously convicted of a crime; this number is up significantly from FY 2011 when it was just 67 percent.
  • The number of Mexican nationals that ICE removed or returned decreased, while the number of Guatemalan, Honduran, and El Salvadorian removals or returns increased.
  • State and local law enforcement declined to honor 10,182 ICE detainers, which required ICE to expend additional resources to develop and execute operations to attempt to locate and arrest at-large criminal aliens.

CBP Enforcement Efforts at and between Ports of Entry

The nation’s long-term investment in border security continued to produce significant and positive results in FY 2014. Illegal migration, as defined by total Border Patrol apprehensions, continues to reflect an overall decline compared to the peak in 2000, when the Border Patrol reported 1.6 million apprehensions. This year, the Border Patrol reported 486,651 apprehensions nationwide, compared to 420,789 last year; the increase is largely attributable to the influx in unaccompanied children and family units in South Texas last summer. While Border Patrol apprehensions of Mexican nationals in FY 2014 decreased by 14 percent from FY 2013, apprehensions of individuals from countries other than Mexico, predominately from Central America, increased by 68 percent.

Enforcement actions at ports of entry continued to yield important border security achievements. In FY 2014, CBP officers at ports of entry arrested 8,013 people wanted for serious crimes, including murder, rape, assault, and robbery. Officers also stopped 223,712 inadmissible aliens from entering the United States through ports of entry, an increase of more than 9 percent from FY 2013. Depending on the circumstances, these individuals were arrested, allowed to voluntarily return to their country of origin, or allowed to withdraw their application for admission into the United States. Inadmissibility grounds included immigration violations, and criminal and national security-related reasons. As part of these efforts, CBP identified 11,494 high-risk travelers who would have been found inadmissible and were prevented from boarding flights destined for the United States.

In addition, CBP officers and agents played a significant counter-narcotics role in FY 2014, seizing more than 3.8 million pounds of narcotics across the country.

For a comprehensive breakdown of CBP’s FY 2014 enforcement efforts, please click here.

ICE Interior and Border Enforcement Efforts

In FY 2014, ICE removed or returned 315,943 individuals, 213,719 of whom were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States, and 102,224 of whom were apprehended in the interior of the United States. Eighty-five percent of ICE's interior removals and returns were previously convicted of a criminal offense; this number is up significantly from FY 2011 when it was just 67 percent.

ICE’s 2014 removal numbers illustrate the agency’s continued commitment to focusing on the apprehension, detention, and removal of criminal aliens and other immigration violators in the interior of the United States, and the removal of individuals apprehended by ICE and CBP while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States. Ninety-eight percent of ICE’s FY 2014 removals and returns fell into one or more of ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.

This year, a number of factors and unique challenges contributed to ICE’s total removals, and ICE’s ability to adjust to these circumstances led to a sustained focus on criminals and public safety threats:

Shifting Migration Patterns and Demographics

In FY 2014, ICE was required to shift resources to effectively manage the influx of Central American family units and unaccompanied children illegally crossing into the United States in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in South Texas. ICE reallocated personnel and resources to address the challenges posed by this unprecedented migration.

Changing migrant demographics also impacted ICE removal operations. Most notably, removals to Central America increased while removals to Mexico decreased, which is consistent with changes to the apprehension demographics. Removals of non-Mexican nationals require additional detention capacity, efforts to secure travel documents from the host country, and the arrangement of air transportation. As a result, more time, officer resources, and funding are required to complete the removal process for nationals from Central America and other non-contiguous countries as compared to Mexican nationals apprehended at the border.

Increasing Jurisdictions Declining to Honor ICE Detainers

Another significant factor impacting removal operations has been the increase in the number of state and local law enforcement jurisdictions limiting or declining cooperation with ICE detainers, which is now more than 275 jurisdictions nationwide. ICE requests detainers to ensure that dangerous criminals and other priority individuals are not released from prisons or jails into our communities, and are instead transferred into ICE custody. When detainers are not honored, ICE must expend additional resources to develop and execute operations to locate and arrest at-large criminal aliens.

Refined Focus on Convicted Criminals

In recent years, ICE has refined its focus on identifying, locating, apprehending, and removing convicted criminal aliens who are at-large, which requires significantly more officers, time, money, and other resources as compared to those who are in a custodial setting. As a result, while overall removals may have declined, ICE has improved the quality of its removals by focusing on the most serious public safety and national security threats.

Reduced Use of the Alien Transfer Exit Program

The Alien Transfer Exit Program (ATEP) is an ongoing program that transfers Mexican nationals apprehended in one Border Patrol sector to another sector before removing them to Mexico. ATEP disrupts the smuggling cycle by physically separating aliens from the smuggling organizations that will repeatedly attempt to guide them into this country. In 2013 and 2014, ICE began reallocating limited resources away from ATEP to focus on the increasing number of Central American migrants and to effectively manage the influx of family units and unaccompanied children apprehended at the border, which has resulted in reduced ICE ATEP removals. 

Legal Requirements

ICE’s interior operations were further challenged by federal court decisions, including the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Rodriguez v. Robbins, which required bond hearings for all individuals detained for six months or longer, including those subject to mandatory detention. In many instances, individuals request a bond hearing once they reach 180 days in detention, and, if so ordered by an immigration judge, post bond. Once the individual’s case is transferred to the non-detained docket, the immigration court process generally takes longer, thereby reducing the number of final orders of removal in the short term.

For a comprehensive breakdown of ICE's FY 2014 removal numbers, please see the FY14 report here.

DHS Reporting Improvements

Statistical reporting currently involves integrating immigration data from multiple DHS agencies. To process and track individuals from the point of encounter through removal, both ICE and CBP currently use multiple systems. Pursuant to Secretary Johnson’s direction, DHS is working to improve processes to identify, track, and report immigration data consistently across the Department and with our federal partners.

To improve unity of effort, the Department will create a comprehensive capability to advance DHS’s missions and transparently share information with stakeholders and the public. The DHS Office of Immigration Statistics is working with all DHS components to create the capability to collect, maintain, and report data reflecting the numbers of individuals apprehended, removed, returned, or otherwise repatriated. The Office of Immigration Statistics expects to release their detailed 2014 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics in the middle of next year.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/22/2015