ICE deported more than 4,000 known or suspected gang members in fiscal 2020, including hundreds belonging to the MS-13 gang, the agency said in a new report.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement year-end report for fiscal 2020 concludes that the agency, which was criticized by activists and lawmakers during the Trump administration, deported 185,884 immigrants.
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Of that number, 64% had criminal convictions or criminal charges pending – 399,235 foreigners.
According to the report, 4,276 were known or suspected of being gang members, including 675 known or allegedly members of the brutal MS-13 gang.
In addition, 31 were known or suspected terrorists. Highlighted cases included the September removal of Saudin Agani, which the ICE said had provided material support to a terrorist organization, and the relative of the suspect who attacked two New York police officers earlier this year.
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The agency faced years of calls for it to be abolished through an “Abolish the ICE” movement, which included Democratic Congressional lawmakers and even former presidential primary candidates.
ICE officials have retreated against this movement, as well as against “sanctuary” cities that prohibit cooperation with ICE. The authorities noted that the vast majority of people who arrest and deport have police records and often highlight some of the worst criminals they deported.
President-elect Joe Biden has promised to impose a 100-day moratorium on ICE deportations, as well as review practices when it comes to illegally targeting and deporting people in the country.
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He promised to institute a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, while extending protection against deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
However, his team also showed caution. In responses to a Spanish news agency this week, officials warned that changes in immigration policies – especially those related to asylum – could take time.