This report summarizes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) activities in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. ERO identifies, arrests, and removes aliens who present a danger to national security or a threat to public safety, or who otherwise undermine border control and the integrity of the U.S. immigration system. ICE shares responsibility for administering and enforcing the nation’s immigration laws with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
On January 25, 2017, the President Donald J. Trump issued Executive Order (EO) 13768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which set forth the Administration’s immigration enforcement and removal priorities. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) February 20, 2017 memorandum, Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest (implementation memorandum) provided direction for the implementation of the policies set forth in the EO. The EO and implementation memorandum expanded ICE’s enforcement focus to include removable aliens who (1) have been convicted of any criminal offense; (2) have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved; (3) have committed acts which constitute a chargeable criminal offense; (4) have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a governmental agency; (5) have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits; (6) are subject to a final order of removal but have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or (7) in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security. The Department has directed that classes or categories of removable aliens are no longer exempted from potential enforcement.
The EO and implementation memorandum highlight the critical importance of interior enforcement in protecting national security and public safety and upholding the rule of law. This report presents and analyzes ICE ERO’s FY2017 year-end statistics and illustrates how ICE ERO successfully fulfilled its mission in furthering the policies set forth in the EO and implementation memorandum.
The FY2017 statistics clearly demonstrate ICE’s continued commitment to identifying, arresting, and removing aliens who are in violation of U.S. law, particularly those posing a public safety or national security threat, while restoring fidelity to the rule of law. In FY2017, ICE ERO conducted 143,470 overall administrative arrests, which is the highest number of administrative arrests over the past three fiscal years. Of these arrests, 92 percent had a criminal conviction, a pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive or were processed with a reinstated final order. In FY2017, ICE conducted 226,119 removals. While this is a slight overall decrease from the prior fiscal year, the proportion of removals resulting from ICE arrests increased from 65,332, or 27 percent of total removals in FY2016 to 81,603, or 36 percent of total removals, in FY2017. These results clearly demonstrate profound, positive impact of the EO. The 17 percent decrease in border removals shows the deterrent effect of strong interior enforcement, while the increase in interior removals restores the integrity of our nation’s immigration system and enhances the safety and security of the United States.
ICE ERO Administrative Arrests
An administrative arrest is the arrest of an alien for a civil violation of the immigration laws, which is subsequently adjudicated by an immigration judge or through other administrative processes. With 143,470 administrative arrests in FY2017, ICE ERO recorded its greatest number of administrative arrests as compared with the past three fiscal years.1 There were 33,366 more administrative arrests in FY2017 than in FY2016, representing a 30 percent increase, as seen in Figure 1.
Figure 1. FY2015 – FY2017 ERO Administrative Arrests
Administrative arrests began to increase after January 25, 2017, when the EO was issued, as shown in Figure 2. The analysis of administrative arrests conducted per week shows an elevated level of enforcement as compared with FY2016, beginning just after the new Administration took office during FY2017. This illustrates ERO’s prompt response to the direction set forth by the EO.
Figure 2. FY2016 and FY2017 ERO Administrative Arrests per week Comparison
The increase in ERO administrative arrests following the EO accounts for the increase in total ERO FY2017 arrests. Figure 3 shows the total ERO arrests from the start of the new Administration to the end of FY2017 compared to the same timeframe in FY2016; the number of administrative arrests rose from 77,806 to 110,568, a 42 percent increase. In fact, ERO arrested more aliens in FY2017 over this period than in all of FY2016. According to ICE’s system of record, of the 110,568 ERO administrative arrests from January 20 to September 30, 2017, 92 percent had a criminal conviction, a pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive, or were processed with a reinstated final order.2
Figure 3. FY2016 and FY2017 ERO Administrative Arrests from January 20 to End of FY
Administrative Arrests of Criminal vs. Non-Criminal Aliens
An administrative arrest of a criminal alien is the arrest of an alien with a known criminal conviction. ICE remains committed to targeting such aliens for arrest and removal. ERO arrested 105,736 criminal aliens in FY2017, resulting in a 12 percent (10,985) increase over FY2016, as seen in Figure 4.
Figure 4. FY2015 – FY2017 ERO Administrative Arrests of Criminal Aliens
Table 1 provides a breakdown of total administrative arrests for FY2017, by those with known criminal convictions, those without a known conviction and with criminal charges pending final disposition, and those without a known criminal conviction or pending charges. An alien with both criminal convictions and pending criminal charges is only counted in the criminal conviction category. The vast majority of ERO’s arrests were of convicted criminals or aliens with criminal charges. A relatively small percentage (11 percent) of the arrested alien population had no known criminal convictions or charges. These results clearly reflect ERO’s success in expanding its efforts to address all illegal aliens encountered in the course of its operations, while still prioritizing its enforcement resources on those who pose a known threat to national security and public safety.
Table 2 shows the criminal background of arrested aliens and includes criminal charges and convictions in ICE’s system of record for those administratively arrested in FY2017. Only criminal charge categories with at least 1,000 total convictions and charges are included in this table. Because this was a new area of focus and a new measure in FY2017, comparison to previous fiscal years is not possible at this time.
Table 1. FY2017 ERO Administrative Arrests by Criminality
|Criminality||Arrests||% of Total|
|Pending Criminal Charges||22,256||15.5%|
|No Known Criminal Charges or Convictions||15,478||10.8%|
Table 2. FY2017 Total ERO Administrative Arrests Criminal Charges and Convictions3
Notes: Immigration crimes include “illegal entry,” “illegal reentry,” “false claim to U.S. citizenship,” and “alien smuggling.” “Obstructing Judiciary & Congress & Legislature & Etc.” refers to several related offenses including, but not limited to: Perjury; Contempt; Obstructing Justice; Misconduct; Parole and Probation Violations; and Failure to Appear. “General Crimes” include the following National Crime Information Center (NCIC) charges: Conspiracy, Crimes Against Person, Licensing Violation, Money Laundering, Morals - Decency Crimes, Property Crimes, Public Order Crimes, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and Structuring.
Administrative arrests of non-criminals (i.e., those aliens without a criminal conviction on record at the time of arrest) comprised 26 percent of total ICE ERO administrative arrests in FY2017. Table 3 shows a breakdown of non-criminal arrests with and without criminal charges. A total of 59 percent of non-criminal arrests during FY2017 had unresolved criminal charges at the time of their arrest. Table 4 illustrates that the percentage of non-criminal arrests with unresolved charges was higher (62 percent) in the time period after the EO was issued. Of non-criminal aliens arrested in FY2017, 57 percent were processed with a notice to appear, and 23 percent were ICE fugitives or subjects who had been previously removed and served an order of reinstatement.
Table 3. FY2017 ERO Administrative Non-Criminal Arrests by Arrest Type
Table 4. FY2017 ERO Administrative Non-Criminal Arrests by Arrest Type from January 20, 2017 to End of FY
An ERO at-large arrest is conducted in the community, as opposed to in a custodial setting such as a prison or jail.4 The total number of at-large arrests increased after the EO was issued, particularly in those areas that do not honor ICE detainers or limit or restrict ICE’s access to their jail population. Figure 5 shows that total at-large arrests in FY2017 increased to 40,066 from 30,348 in FY2016. Figure 6 shows the increase in at-large arrests in the time period after January 20 for both FY2016 and FY2017. In this time frame, ICE ERO conducted 31,663 at-large arrests in FY2017 as compared to 22,094 in FY2016.
Figure 5. FY2015 – FY2017 ERO At-Large Administrative Arrests
Figure 6. FY2016 and FY2017 ERO Administrative At-Large Arrests, from January 20 to End of FY
Table 5. FY2016 and FY2017 ERO Administrative At-Large Arrests by Criminality
1 ERO administrative arrests include all ERO programs. All statistics are attributed to the current program of the processing officer of an enforcement action.
2 ICE ERO defines “fugitive” as any alien who has failed to depart the United States following the issuance of a final order of removal, deportation or exclusion, or who has failed to report to ICE after receiving notice to do so.
3 The criminality displayed includes all criminal charges and convictions for FY2017 ERO administrative arrests entered into ICE’s system of record at the time of the data run. An alien may have more than one criminal charge or criminal conviction in a fiscal year, and all relevant charges and convictions for each arrest are included. As such, the total number of criminal charges and convictions is greater than the total number of aliens administratively arrested.
4 ERO administrative arrests reported as “at-large” include records from all ERO Programs with Arrest Methods of Located, Non-Custodial Arrest, or Probation and Parole.
A detainer is a request that the receiving law enforcement agency both notify DHS as early as practicable, at least 48 hours, if possible, before a removable alien is released from criminal custody, and also maintain custody of the alien for a period not to exceed 48 hours beyond the time the alien would otherwise have been released to allow DHS to assume custody for removal purposes. ICE issues detainers to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies only after establishing probable cause to believe that the subject is an alien who is removable from the United States and to provide notice of ICE’s intent to assume custody of a subject detained in that law enforcement agency’s custody. The detainer facilitates the custodial transfer of an alien to ICE from another law enforcement agency. This process helps avoid the potential risk of danger to ICE officers and to the general public by allowing arrests to be made in a controlled, custodial setting as opposed to at-large arrests in the community.
The cooperation ICE receives from other law enforcement agencies is critical to its ability to identify and arrest aliens who pose a risk to public safety or national security. While some jurisdictions do not cooperate with ICE as a matter of policy, others agree that increasing cooperation is beneficial, but decline to do so based upon litigation concerns. Although not legally required, as a matter of policy, all detainers issued by ICE must be accompanied by either: (1) a properly completed Form I-200 (Warrant for Arrest of Alien) signed by a legally authorized immigration officer; or (2) a properly completed Form I-205 (Warrant of Removal/Deportation) signed by a legally authorized immigration officer. These forms help to mitigate future litigation risk and will further ICE’s efforts to ensure that our law enforcement partners can honor detainers.
The number of detainers issued by ERO officers substantially increased following the EO. Figure 8 shows that ERO issued 112,493 detainers in the time period beginning with the new Administration, as opposed to 62,192 during the same time period from the previous fiscal year, an 81 percent increase. Figure 7 shows the number of detainers issued over the past three fiscal years. In FY2017, ERO issued 142,356 detainers, up 65 percent from 86,026 in FY2016, which demonstrates ERO’s commitment to taking enforcement action on all illegal aliens it encounters, as directed by the EO. The rise in detainers issued shows a more active approach to interior enforcement, particularly for those aliens involved in criminal activity, despite continued opposition from some state and local jurisdictions.
Figure 7. FY2015 – FY2017 ERO Detainers Issued
Figure 8. FY2016 and FY2017 ERO Detainers Issued from January 20 to End of FY
ICE records a detainer as declined when a law enforcement agency fails to maintain custody of an alien for up to 48 hours, as requested on Form I-247A (Immigration Detainer – Notice of Action), and instead releases the alien into the community. ERO is working to ensure that these aliens, many of whom may reoffend, are not released from custody. For example, in a new approach, DHS and ICE, in coordination with the Department of Justice, have taken actions to support our state and local partners when they face legal challenges for lawfully cooperating with ICE detainers, including by filing statements of interest and amicus briefs before the courts.
In FY2017, law enforcement agencies declined 8,170 ERO detainers, as compared with 3,623 in FY2016, as seen in Table 6. This is the greatest number of declined detainers over the last three fiscal years. Despite intensified efforts to locate and arrest these aliens – many of whom are convicted criminals – ERO was only able to arrest 6 percent of them in FY17. While this is a 67 percent increase over FY2016, this further illustrates the public safety threat posed by those sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with ICE’s enforcement efforts, as 7,710 illegal and criminal aliens remain at-large as a direct result of these policies.
Table 6. FY2015 – FY2017 Declined Detainers and Subsequent ERO Administrative Arrests
Initial Book-ins to ICE Custody
An initial book-in is the first book-in to an ICE detention facility to begin a new detention stay. This population includes aliens initially arrested by CBP and transferred to ICE for removal. While overall ICE initial book-ins declined in FY2017, the proportion of those book-ins resulting from ICE’s interior enforcement efforts increased in FY2017, as seen in Figure 9. ICE book-ins since the new Administration were 42 percent higher in FY2017 than during the same time period in FY2016, rising from 75,946 to 108,077, as seen in Figure 10.
Figure 9. FY2015 - FY2017 Initial Book-ins from ICE Interior Programs
Figure 10. FY2016 and FY2017 Initial Book-ins from ICE Interior Programs for January 20 to End of FY
Figure 11 shows the number of book-ins resulting from interior and border enforcement efforts across the past three fiscal years.5 Border enforcement book-ins dropped 25 percent in FY2017 compared to FY2016, while book-ins from ICE arrests increased 29 percent over that time.
Figure 11. FY2015 – FY2017 Initial Book-ins to ICE Detention by Arresting Agency
5 Border enforcement efforts represent records that were processed by Border Patrol, Inspections, Inspections-Air, Inspections-Land, and Inspections-Sea.
FY2017 Enforcement and Removal Statistics
As directed in the EO and implementation memorandum, ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. This policy change is reflected in ERO’s FY2017 enforcement statistics, which show increases in the following enforcement actions: (1) ICE ERO administrative arrests; (2) book-ins of aliens to ICE detention facilities resulting from ICE arrests; and (3) ICE ERO removals of aliens as a result of ICE’s interior enforcement. The trend of increased enforcement actions began shortly after the change in administration on January 20, 2017, and this date is used throughout the report for the purposes of data reporting. In each of the aforementioned areas, there was a net increase over the prior fiscal year.
A removal is the compulsory and confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States based on an order of removal.6 Similar to the trends of ERO administrative arrests and book-ins, removals tied to ICE arrests increased during FY2017, especially from the start of the new Administration. Figure 12 shows a 37 percent increase in removals tied to interior ERO arrests when comparing January 20, 2016 through end of FY2016 with the same time period in FY2017.
Figure 12. FY2016 and FY2017 ICE Interior Removals for January 20 to End of FY
Figure 13 shows the removals over the past three fiscal years as a result of an ICE arrest. While total removals declined from 240,255 in FY2016 to 226,119 in FY2017, the proportion resulting from ICE arrests increased from 65,332, or 27 percent of total removals in FY2016 to 81,603, or 36 percent of total removals in FY2017. Despite the 6 percent decline in overall removals as shown in Figure 14, ICE removed 25 percent more aliens arrested during interior enforcement activities in FY2017 compared to the previous year. This surge in interior removals nearly offset the 17 percent decline in border removals, which mirrored the trend of fewer book-ins of border apprehensions.
The decrease in ICE’s overall removal numbers from FY2016 to FY2017 was primarily due to the decline in border apprehensions in 2017. Many fewer aliens were apprehended at the border in FY2017 than in FY2016—possibly reflecting an increased deterrent effect from ICE’s stronger interior enforcement efforts. The drop in border apprehensions contributed to a decrease in total ICE-ERO removal numbers, as the majority of aliens arriving at the border are processed under the provisions of expedited removal and are removed quickly, while aliens arrested in the interior are more likely to have protracted immigration proceedings and appeals, which delays the issuance of an executable final order of removal. These cases also frequently require a more complex and lengthy process to obtain travel documents, further delaying the process.
Figure 13. FY2015 – FY2017 ICE Interior Removals
Figure 14. FY2015 – FY2017 ICE Removals
Figure 15 provides a summary of ICE-ERO removals for the past three fiscal years, broken down by interior versus border arrests, as well as criminals versus non-criminals. The drop in border apprehensions offers important public safety benefits, as there was a 24 percent (18,511) decrease in criminal border removals from FY2016 to FY2017. At the same time, the renewed commitment to interior enforcement resulted in a 10 percent increase in ICE criminal removals from FY2016 to FY2017, with 53 percent of criminal removals resulting from ICE interior arrests.
Figure 15. FY2015 – FY2017 Interior vs. Border Program Removals by Criminality
6 ICE removals include removals and returns where aliens were turned over to ICE for removal efforts. This includes aliens processed for Expedited Removal (ER) or Voluntary Return (VR) that are turned over to ICE for detention. Aliens processed for ER and not detained by ERO or VR after June 1st, 2013 and not detained by ICE are primarily processed by the U.S. Border Patrol. CBP should be contacted for those statistics.
Appendix A: Methodology
Data used to report ICE statistics are obtained through the ICE Integrated Decision Support (IIDS) system data warehouse.
Data Run Dates:
FY2017: IIDSv1.28 run date 10/09/2017; ENFORCE Integrated Database (EID) as of 10/07/2017
FY2016: IIDSv1.22.1 run date 10/04/2016; ENFORCE Integrated Database (EID) as of 10/02/2016
FY2015: IIDSv1.19 run date 10/04/2015; ENFORCE Integrated Database (EID) as of 10/02/2015
ICE Removals include removals and returns initiated by ICE and those initiated by other agencies in which aliens were turned over to ICE for repatriation efforts. Returns include Voluntary Returns, Voluntary Departures, and Withdrawals Under Docket Control. Any voluntary return recorded on or after June 1, 2013 without an ICE intake case is not recorded as an ICE removal.
Removals data are historical and remain static. In FY2009, ICE began to “lock” removal statistics on October 5 at the end of each fiscal year, and counted only aliens whose removal or return was already confirmed. Aliens removed or returned in that fiscal year but not confirmed until after October 5 were excluded from the locked data, and thus from ICE statistics. To ensure an accurate and complete representation of all removals and returns, ICE will count removals and returns confirmed after October 5 toward the next fiscal year. FY2016 removals, excluding FY2015 “lag,” were 235,524. The number of removals in FY2017, excluding the “lag” from FY2016, was 220,649.
ICE Removals include aliens processed for Expedited Removal (ER) and turned over to ERO for detention. Aliens processed for ER and not detained by ERO are primarily processed by Border Patrol. CBP should be contacted for those statistics.
Criminality is determined by the existence of a criminal conviction in the ICE system of record.
Appendix B: FY2016 and FY2017 Removals by Country of Citizenship7
FY2016 and FY2017 ICE Removals by Country of Citizenship
|Country of Citizenship||FY2016||FY2017|
|China, People's Republic Of||398||525|
|Trinidad and Tobago||128||128|
|Micronesia, Federated States Of||63||110|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||16||34|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||4||4|
|British Virgin Islands||5||3|
|United Arab Emirates||1||3|
|Serbia and Montenegro||1||2|
|Central African Republic||0||1|
|Papua New Guinea||1||1|
7 Country of citizenship is reported as it appears in ICE’s system of record at the time data is pulled, but may be updated as additional information is discovered or verified.