Federal immigration authorities have made sharply fewer arrests and deportations of immigrants in the country illegally since President Joe Biden took office, as the new administration reorients enforcement within the U.S. to focus on those with a serious criminal record, reports the Wall Street Journal. ICE’s arrests fell by about two-thirds in March compared with the monthly tallies toward the end of the Trump administration, when arrests had already slowed amid the continuing pandemic, the data show. Deportations fell by nearly 50 percent and ICE’s population of immigrants in detention — which peaked above 56,000 in 2019 — fell to 14,000 in March.
However, migrant arrests at the U.S. Southern border reached a 15-year high. The Border Patrol arrested more than 170,000 migrants crossing the Southern border illegally in March, up from nearly 97,000 in February. The Biden administration’s current ICE guidelines direct immigration officers to target people who recently crossed the border illegally and weren’t immediately turned back by the Border Patrol, along with others deemed threats to national security or public safety.