In the midst of a conflict between the federal government and states such as New York over sanctuary cities, the Trump Administration has shown it is willing to do as much as it lawfully can to eliminate as many illegal border crossings as possible. Last month, the acting chief of US Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan declared that illegal immigration across the southwest border will be at a 45-year low when final 2017 numbers are fully tallied.
In October, President Trump proposed a 70-point plan with the mission of cutting down on loopholes exploited by illegal immigrants, including reforming the asylum system to make it tougher to lodge a protection claim. McAleenan praised the reforms for providing the necessary changes needed to ensure that progress continues. The acting commissioner also credited his agency with making progress on tracking visitors to make sure they leave when they’re supposed to, catching up with more than two decades of backlogs in tracking departures.
In addition, it was reported that there are now 50 new immigration judges on duty and Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans on hiring an additional 360 to 370. The new hires are being brought on to address a backlog of about 600,000 immigration cases, which has been blamed as a major factor in undermining enforcement. Sessions testified to Congress on the progress of the new judges, stating “I’m told by the additional work we’re doing, by January, we will not be adding to the backlog but hopefully reducing it.”
As early as Trump’s second month in office, Immigration, and Customs Enforcement agents said that under his new administration, they’ve been empowered to carry out their jobs, instead of being discouraged from arresting illegals. Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan has repeatedly praised Trump for sending a message to immigration law enforcement that they will not be deterred by the federal government for doing their jobs.
He has also been encouraged by the president’s efforts to curb the infamous MS-13 gang. In November, the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security announced a joint effort that led to the arrest of 214 MS-13 gang members and others involved in gang-related crime.
According to the Daily Signal, of the 214 arrested, 93 were charged with crimes including murder, aggravated robbery, racketeering, narcotics trafficking, narcotics possession, firearms offenses, domestic violence, assault, forgery, drunken driving, and illegal entry/re-entry. The remaining 121 were arrested for administrative immigration violations.