U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) held a press conference Tuesday to release end-of-fiscal-year statistics compiled with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Notably, ICE Deputy Director Tom Homan said that 92 percent of illegal aliens arrested by ICE in 2017 had criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, were immigration fugitives or were illegal re-entrants.
ICE also reported that more than 226,000 illegal aliens were removed; there were more than 4,800 gang arrests, including almost 800 MS-13 arrests.
And, there were more than 143,000 Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrests, which is up 40 percent from last fiscal year.
Homan said more than 81,000 aliens were removed from the U.S. interior during the fiscal year, and more than 61,000 of those removals took place after Jan. 20 – up 37 percent over the same time last year, he pointed out.
There were nearly 33,000 criminal arrests and $524 million was seized, ICE reported.
“As directed by [President Donald Trump], our efforts are focused toward enforcing the law and securing our border,” Homan said. “And while we have made good progress and achieved a great deal, we understand there is still much more work to do.”
Homan also explained that there are two distinct directorates within ICE – ERO and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Throughout FY [Fiscal Year] 2017, ICE deportation officers and special agents succeeded across a broad range of initiatives and operations. These include disrupting and dismantling illegal drug trafficking networks to arresting and removing aliens, including criminals who are too often released back into our communities.
In ERO [Enforcement and Removal Operations], the most significant gains were made in administrative arrests and interior removals. ICE no longer exempts any class of removable aliens from potential enforcement activity.
The work of the special agents of Homeland Security Investigations was equally impressive in a number of areas. In particular, the work dismantling the ultra-violent MS-13 gang and advancing the fight against illegal narcotics trafficking that is contributing to the country’s deadly opioid epidemic showed important community impact.