Though President Donald Trump has made cracking down on immigration a centerpiece of his first term, his administration lags far behind President Barack Obama’s pace of deportations. Obama – whom immigrant advocates at one point called the “deporter in chief” – removed 409,849 people in 2012. Trump, who has vowed to deport “millions” of immigrants, has yet to surpass 260,000 deportations in a single year.
And while Obama deported 1.18 million people during his first three years in office, Trump has deported fewer than 800,000.
It is unclear why deportations have been happening relatively slowly.
Eager to portray Trump as successful in his first year in office, ICE’s 2017 operational report compared “interior removals” – those arrested by ICE away from the border zones – during the first eight months of Trump’s term with the same eight-month period from the previous year, reporting a 37% increase from 44,512 to 61,094 people.
But the agency also acknowledged that overall deportation numbers had slipped, attributing the decline to fewer border apprehensions and suggesting that an “increased deterrent effect from ICE’s stronger interior enforcement efforts” had caused the change.