The Biden administration deported more aggravated felons during an eight-month span in 2021 than the monthly average of the Trump administration, according to an annual report released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Friday.
“As the annual report’s data reflects, ICE’s officers and special agents focused on cases that delivered the greatest law enforcement impact in communities across the country while upholding our values as a nation,” said Acting Director Tae Johnson.
From February to September 2021, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deported average of 1,034 aggravated felons per month, “a 53 percent increase over the monthly average during the final year of the Obama Administration and a 51 percent increase over the monthly average during the Trump Administration,” the agency said in a statement.
“During the same period in 2021, ERO removed an average of 937 aggravated felons per month, the highest level ever recorded and the greatest public safety impact since ICE began collecting detailed criminality data,” the agency added. “46 percent of ICE removals from February – September 2021 were of serious criminals overall (persons convicted of felonies or aggravated felonies), compared to 17 percent during the final year of the Obama Administration and 18 percent during the Trump Administration.”
The agency also touted the closing of two immigrant detention centers — the C. Carlos Carreiro Detention Center in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia— both under federal investigation for the alleged mistreatment of migrant detainees.
During an incident on May 1, 2020, members of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), including Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson himself, deployed pepper spray, extended range batons, and flash-bang grenades against 25 detainees.
“Our central conclusion,” read a December 2020 report from the Civil Rights Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, “is that a series of institutional failures and poor decisions by BCSO leadership throughout the late afternoon and evening of May 1 culminated in a calculated —that is, planned and deliberate —use of force against the ICE B detainees that was disproportionate to the security needs at that time and that unnecessarily caused, or risked causing, harm to all involved.”
On September 8, 2020, a nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia sent a letter to the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), saying that the facility routinely failed to test detainees for COVID-19 and underreported cases.
Lawyers representing a group of female detainees at Irwin also claim that a gynecologist there, Dr. Mahendra Amin of Douglas, Georgia, had performed rough and unnecessary procedures, including hysterectomies.
“We will not tolerate the mistreatment of individuals in civil immigration detention or substandard conditions of detention,” Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in May 2021, ordering the closure of the Irwin detention center “as soon as possible.”
“ICE continues to inspect individual detention centers to ensure appropriate conditions through the work of ERO, [Office of Professional Responsibility], and in collaboration with other oversight bodies within DHS,” read Friday’s statement.
The agency boasted that, in fiscal year 2021, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) “conducted 34,974 arrests, seized more than 2.45 million pounds of narcotics, identified and/or rescued 1,177 victims of child exploitation, assisted 728 victims of human trafficking, and disrupted and dismantled countless transnational criminal organizations, seizing more than $973 million in criminally derived currency and assets.”
HSI also continued its effort in combatting COVID-related fraud by “seizing 2,672 items of counterfeit personal protective equipment (PPE), counterfeit and fraudulent COVID-19 test kits, medical treatments, therapeutics, and prevention items, and fraudulent web domains associated with COVID-19 fraud.”
“The report underscores the significant new actions taken by ICE to focus enforcement priorities on threats to national security, public safety, and border security,” the agency said. “Additionally, the Annual Report features the work of HSI regarding significant criminal investigations to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations, safeguard the homeland, and vindicate the rights of vulnerable victims.”