Administration officials said the plans, which have not been finalized, are consistent with new deportation priorities announced last year. Now, federal immigration officials are focusing their deportation efforts on criminal immigrants and those who had recently crossed the border illegally.
“As [Homeland Security] Secretary [Jeh] Johnson has consistently said, our border is not open to illegal immigration,” ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said on Thursday. “If individuals come here illegally, do not qualify for asylum or other relief, and have final orders of removal, they will be sent back consistent with our laws and our values.”
In an interview with POLITICO earlier this month, Johnson said Homeland Security officials were zeroing in on criminals and recent border-crossers, as opposed to undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for a longer period of time.
DHS announced this week that federal immigration officials deported 235,413 immigrants from October 2014 to September 2015 — the lowest figure in at least eight years.