The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) yesterday released its end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 statistics which reflect the Departments immigration enforcement efforts that prioritize convicted criminals and threats to public safety, border security, and national security.
Overall, the Department apprehended 406,595 individuals nationwide and conducted a total of 462,463 removals and returns. The U.S. Border Patrol reported 337,117 apprehensions nationwide, compared to 486,651 in FY 2014. At the same time, ICE removed or returned 235,413 individuals in FY 2015, with 86 percent of these individuals considered a top priority (Priority One) those considered border security or public safety threats.
The number of convicted criminals removed from the interior continued to increase, as 91 percent of ICEs FY 2015 interior removals and returns were individuals who were previously convicted of a crime, compared to 86 percent in FY 2014, and just 67 percent in FY 2011.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson made the following statement concerning these numbers:
Last years removal and return statistics are characterized primarily by three things: first, last years removal numbers reflect this Departments increased focus on prioritizing convicted criminals and threats to public safety, border security and national security. Second, the removal numbers were driven by the dramatic decrease in those apprehended at the border in FY 2015 337,117 the second lowest apprehension number since 1972, reflecting a lower level of attempted illegal migration at our borders. Third, to improve the transparency of our efforts, for the second year in a row, we are releasing the immigration statistics of CBP and ICE together, rather than piecemeal, to provide a single, clear snapshot of our overall immigration enforcement picture.
FY 2015 was a year of transition, during which our new policies focusing on public safety were being implemented. In FY 2016 and beyond, I want to focus even more interior enforcement resources on removing convicted criminals. To that end, we are renewing and rebuilding ICEs ties with state and local law enforcement. A year ago, we ended the controversial Secure Communities Program, and replaced it with the Priority Enforcement Program. Of the 25 largest jurisdictions that had placed restrictions on their own cooperation with ICE, 16 are now working with us again for the good of public safety.
In FY 2016, we will be challenged again by a variety of factors driving illegal migration to the U.S., mostly from Central America, and we are redoubling our border security efforts now to meet that challenge.
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