While nationwide more people are getting deported from inside the country, in Arizona, 4 out of 5 removals are still of those caught at the border.
In fiscal year 2017, which ended Sept. 30, there were nearly 4,000 deportations from the interior of Arizona compared to 16,800 from the border.
That means 81 percent of deportations were from the border, slightly down from the 86 percent border share the previous fiscal year, ICE data obtained by the Arizona Daily Star show.
Nationwide, the share of removals stemming from ICE arrests made up 36 percent of total removals compared to 27 percent the previous year. The decrease in border removals, the agency said in its annual report, “shows the deterrent effect of strong interior enforcement, while the increase in interior removals restores the integrity of our nation’s immigration system and enhances the safety and security of the United States.”
Overall, numbers released earlier this month by Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement show fewer arrests along the U.S-Mexico border, more immigration arrests in the interior of the country and slightly fewer deportations — mostly due to a growing backlog in immigration court.
ICE immigration arrests in Arizona rose slightly from 5,400 in fiscal 2016 to 6,500 last fiscal year.
In Southern Arizona, Border Patrol apprehensions fell by 40 percent last fiscal year compared to the previous year.
Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector made about 38,700 apprehensions in fiscal 2017, down from 64,900 the previous year.
That’s the lowest number of arrests the Tucson Sector has seen since 1983, when it made about 36,000 apprehensions. Agency spokesman Chris Sullivan has said that in recent years, the sector has become an undesirable place to cross the border because of better infrastructure and the 3,700 agents who work here.