There were 315,943 removals during FY 2014, down from 368,644 in FY 2013, according to the report, which was released by the agency on Dec. 19th.
The FY 2014 removal figure includes 91,037 criminals and 137,983 non-criminals apprehended “while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States.”
However, Houston’s KPRC-TV reported that only a small percentage of families and unaccompanied children who streamed across the border this summer were sent back to their home countries.
“Of the 15,614 families caught crossing the border but not detained” between July 18th and Oct. 28th this year, “4,197 have been ordered removed from the U.S. However, 96 percent of those removal orders were done ‘in abstentia’” because the individuals failed to show up in immigration court.
Deportations of convicted criminals were also down significantly, from 216,810 in FY 2013 to 177,960 in FY 2014. That figure does not include “2,802 individuals in FY 2014 who were classified as suspected or confirmed gang members,” ICE stated.
The agency reported that “removals of individuals at the border from countries other than Mexico” increased 26 percent.
The highest number of illegal aliens came from Mexico (176,968), Guatemala (54,423), Honduras (40,695), El Salvador (27,180) and the Dominican Republic (2,130), according to the report. But nations on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism were also represented: Cuba (24), Iran (23), Sudan (14), and Syria (9).
Although “removals of Mexican nationals decreased from 66 to 56 percent of total ICE removals during this time period,” the report stated, “at the same time, the number of aliens removed to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras increased by 15 percent due to the increased share of apprehensions involving such nationals at the border.”
However, deportations of illegal immigrants already present in the country decreased 24 percent to the lowest level since 2006.
The ICE report stated that “85 percent of interior enforcement removals were of convicted criminals,” three quarters of whom had committed either a felony or more than three misdemeanors prior to their apprehension, detention and deportation.
“Overall, in FY 2014, 63,159 of the convicted criminal removals were Level 1 (aggravated felony) offenders, 42,790 were Level 2 (felony or more than three misdemeanors) offenders, and 72,011 were Level 3 (misdemeanor) offenders,” according to ICE.