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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released its FY2017 immigration enforcement report. It indicates that President Trump has reduced the number of illegal border crossings, but it shows no progress at all on reducing the number of undocumented aliens who are in the United States already.

An immigration court backlog crisis is making it extremely difficult for him to move new cases through removal proceedings.

Where enforcement is now.

Removals have actually gone down under the Trump administration:

DHS claims this is because fewer aliens are being apprehended in the vicinity of the border, which is where most removals take place. Trump has succeeded in reducing the number of illegal border crossings by reversing the damage President Obama did to border security with his interior enforcement policies.

When Barack Obama was president, he focused his immigration enforcement efforts on aliens who had been convicted of serious crimes or who had been caught near the border after making an illegal entry, and he protected aliens here unlawfully who were not in a priority category.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers were required to obtain permission from a Field Office Director before arresting an apparently deportable alien who was not in a priority category.

This created what I called a “home free magnet.” Aliens wanting to enter the United States illegally knew that they would be safe from deportation once they had reached the interior of the country unless they were convicted of a serious crime. This was a powerful incentive to do whatever was necessary to cross the border into the United States.

Trump destroyed this magnet with tough campaign rhetoric and his Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which greatly expanded enforcement priorities. No deportable alien is safe under President Trump’s enforcement policies.

In April 2017, CBP reported a sharp decline in the number of aliens apprehended along the Southwest border, and in the number of aliens who were found inadmissible at ports of entry.

But border security just keeps new aliens from entering the country illegally. It does not reduce the population of undocumented aliens who are in the country already, and this is where Trump’s enforcement program is failing.

Read more at http://thehill.com/opinion/immigrati...ram-is-failing

Published originally on The Hill.

About the author. Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.