Biden’s border police doubled deportations in Fiscal Year 2023

Border police with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency deported more than 142,850 immigrants to 180 countries in Fiscal Year 2023. This is the highest number of deportations carried out by the federal police agency in the last three fiscal years of the Biden administration.

ICE agents conducting an arrest in Philadelphia on February 18, 2020 [Photo: ice.gov]

The figure represents a 97.5 percent increase over the previous year and rivals the more than 185,000 deportations carried out by ICE in the last year of the Trump administration. It should be noted that ICE expelled more than 60,000 “noncitizens” prior to May 12, 2023 under Title 42, a previously obscure public health provision that was weaponized by the Trump administration on the pretext of containing the COVID-19 pandemic and continued for two years under Biden, in order to block immigrants from claiming asylum in the US.

In its report, ICE noted that Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) “increased its pace of removals and returns” following the expiration of Title 42 in May 2023, “nearly doubling the number of removals” between last year and this year.

ICE is one of several federal police agencies under the administration of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Currently, ICE has a yearly budget of over $8 billion, with more than 20,000 employees, including some 6,000 immigration officers located at 400 offices across the US and around the world.

In its Fiscal Year 2023 report, ICE identified a staggering 6.2 million “noncitizens” slated for deportation, the vast majority of whom are not currently in ICE custody. As of September 30, 2023, 36,845 people were being held in 150 detention facilities across the US. The facilities are a mixture of ICE detention centers, privately owned centers and state and local facilities.

Just over 26,000 of those detained are classified as “Final Order Status,” meaning they are being prepared for loading onto planes and buses to be expelled from the country.

Some 3.5 million of the “non-detained,” who are on the deportation docket, are from countries that are suffering under US economic sanctions or have had their governments overthrown in US-backed coups, including Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador. Another 1.9 million migrants are from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia, Haiti and Ecuador.

According to ICE, of those removed in the last year, nearly 18,000 were parents and children traveling as “family units.” In 2020, the last year of the Trump administration, ICE deported 14,400 members of “family units.”

In addition to carrying out deportations, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit of the DHS made over 33,100 criminal arrests, while Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) agents carried out 170,590 arrests, an increase of 19.5 percent over the previous year.

Biden has reneged on his campaign promises to enact more “humane” immigration policies than his fascist predecessor. This includes carrying out mass deportations and expanding Trump’s border wall. He is now preparing to tear up the right to asylum and enact a new Title 42-like authority to block refugees from entering the US, in exchange for Republican support for another $60 billion in military aid to Ukraine in Washington’s proxy war against Russia.

Appearing on the CBS’s Face the Nation this past Sunday, Trump-aligned South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham confirmed that Senate Republicans were negotiating with the Biden White House to implement a “Title 42 type authority.” Graham said the new authority would allow border officials to tell desperate migrants seeking to exercise their legal right to asylum that “we are full” and send them back to Mexico.

After Graham’s interview, CBS brought on two Democratic mayors—Denver’s Mike Johnston and Chicago’s Brandon Johnson—to discuss the so-called “immigration crisis.” Both called for passage of Biden’s $110 billion supplemental funding package, which—in addition to billions for the war in Ukraine, Israel’s genocide in Gaza and military aid to Taiwan—includes $14 billion for the US border police.

“We need federal money to support our work” and “more support at the border,” Denver Mayor Johnston said. Chicago Mayor Johnson, who is supported by the Democratic of Socialists of America and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, said increased number of refugees in Chicago and other Democratic-controlled cities is a “federal crisis” that is “unsustainable.”

Appearing on CNN last week, the mayors of New York, Chicago and Denver, all Democrats, criticized the Biden administration for not doing enough to stem the flow of immigrants to their cities, which has been heightened by Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s shipping of tens to thousands of migrants to these and other Democratic-run cities.