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Feds apprehended record number of criminal noncitizens in fiscal 2023

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Federal agents apprehended a record number of criminal noncitizens in fiscal 2023, according to several reports.

In fiscal 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers apprehended nearly 50,000 criminal noncitizens; Customs and Immigration Enforcement and Removal Operation (ERO) agents made 170,590 administrative arrests; and Homeland Security Investigations agents made over 33,000 criminal arrests nationwide.

According to CBP data, Office of Field Operations agents at ports of entry arrested 20,166 noncitizens with criminal convictions or those who were wanted by law enforcement in fiscal 2023 nationwide. They also arrested 11,509 individuals who already committed crimes and were in the National Crime Information Center database. The NCIC database tracks crime-related information and is available to federal, state and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies.

U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 15,267 criminal noncitizens and 988 with outstanding wants or warrants in fiscal 2023 between ports of entry, according to the data.

Fiscal year to date, the combined OFO and BP numbers total over 16,000, as of Feb. 14 when the data was last updated. CBP’s fiscal 2024 runs Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024.

By comparison, the combined total apprehensions of criminal noncitizens nationwide totaled more than 40,000 in fiscal 2022, more than 28,000 in fiscal 2021, and more than 18,600 in fiscal 2020.

“Criminal noncitizens,” CBP explains, refers to non-U.S. citizens “who have been convicted of crime, whether in the United States or abroad, so long as the conviction is for conduct which is deemed criminal by the United States. Criminal noncitizens encountered at ports of entry are inadmissible, absent extenuating circumstances, and represent a subset of total OFO inadmissibles.”

Inadmissibles are required under federal law to be processed for deportation. In September 2021, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas implemented a new deportation policy stating that illegal entry itself was no longer a deportable offense despite federal law stating it is, The Center Square reported. Texas and Louisiana sued only to be told by the U.S. Supreme Court they didn’t have standing to sue.

In ICE’s fiscal 2023 annual report, it claims ICE ERO agents “nearly doubled immigration enforcement arrests and increased removals for those with no legal basis to remain in the country from the totals cited in last year’s report.”

It doesn’t mention that fewer deportations in the previous year have been attributed to injunctions put in place as the lawsuit made its way through the court system. Some have claimed the lawsuit resulted in less deportations.

ICE ERO agents conducted 170,590 administrative arrests, including of 73,822 noncitizens with a criminal history in fiscal 2023, according to the report. Those arrested had an average of four charges and convictions per individual. These included more than 33,209 for assault, 7,520 for weapons offenses, 1,713 for homicide-related offenses, and 1,655 for kidnapping.

ICE ERO agents also removed 3,406 known or suspected gang members, 139 known or suspected terrorists, seven human rights violators, and 108 foreign fugitives wanted by their governments for crimes including homicide, rape, terrorism and kidnapping.

ICE ERO agents conducted 142,580 removals and 62,545 Title 42 expulsions to more than 170 countries worldwide in fiscal 2023. They also conducted over 200,000 additional transportation segments, including domestic transfers and Title 42 expulsions, “of 249,435 individual movements of noncitizens.”

They assisted with transnational criminal organization smuggling interdiction, deploying more than 1,000 special agents on rotation to the southwest border and 300 to international locations last fiscal year. Their efforts resulted in 800 disruptions to illicit activity, apprehending 14,000 noncitizens, and making 1,900 criminal arrests, according to the report.

HSI agents also conducted 33,108 criminal arrests last fiscal year. HSI agents targeting transnational criminal organizations made 231 arrests and executed 38 search warrants. TCO units, comprised of DHS-vetted foreign law enforcement officers partnering with HSI, made 2,973 criminal arrests in fiscal 2023, according to the report.

The record high arrests of criminal noncitizens occurred as nearly 4 million foreign nationals illegally entered the U.S. in fiscal 2023, the highest number in U.S. history and greater than the populations of 22 individual states, The Center Square exclusively reported.

The trend continued in 2024. In the first quarter of fiscal 2024, apprehensions at the southwest and northern borders were the highest in U.S. history, The Center Square also reported.