The Washington Post reported last week that the number of illegal immigrants being deported has gone down this year — a shocking claim, considering that President Donald Trump’s signature issue during the campaign was illegal immigration, and that he’d insisted that the 11 million people living and working illegally in the U.S. wouldn’t be allowed to stay.

Has the Trump administration really deported fewer people than President Barack Obama? Only technically.

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In fiscal year 2016, 240,255 illegal immigrants were deported. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records show that by comparison, 211,068 illegal immigrants had been deported this fiscal year as of September 9.

But many “deportations” under Obama were people who were arrested at or near the border. In fact, the Los Angeles Times reported that almost two-thirds of all deportations in 2013 were people who’d been arrested near the border, and that under Obama, the chance that an illegal immigrant who’d settled in the U.S. would be deported was almost nonexistent. All that’s changed.

The number of people trying to cross illegally into the U.S. from Mexico has been cut in half, from 506,669 to 281,390, when comparing the first 11 months of the last fiscal year to the first 11 months of this one (October-August), and ICE is focusing more on deporting illegal immigrants who are burrowed into American communities.

“ICE has rededicated itself to its core mission,” says Andrew Arthur, a former immigration judge for New York and New Jersey and now a fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies. The agency, he told LifeZette, is actually deporting more people who are living in the U.S.

The evidence is in the numbers. There is a 31 percent increase in orders of removal (judges’ orders that someone be deported), and ICE arrests are up 43 percent.

And this is just a start.

“They’re ramping up their efforts after years of neglect,” says Arthur.

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The Trump administration had requested, in its budget for fiscal year 2018, funding for an additional 850 ICE agents. The House of Representatives has passed an appropriations bill giving ICE an almost 10 percent budget increase, including funding for 1,000 additional ICE agents and 606 support staff. The bill also includes funding for more detention centers.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said that the full House will begin to vote on budget bills this week.

Is a major ramp-up in deportations of illegal immigrants in America just around the corner? It seems likely.

In his testimony to Congress in June, acting administrator for ICE Thomas Homan warned: “If you are in this country illegally, and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried.”

“No population is off the table,” he said. “We’ll issue detainers to anybody in the country illegally. Our priorities are criminals first, but if you’re asking me if we are going to put detainers on people that have not been convicted of a crime — Yes, we will.”

He also referred in his testimony to “stepped-up enforcement” of the nation’s immigration laws “in the interior of the United States,” saying the Trump administration sees this as “critically important to the national security and public safety of the United States.”

And more categories of illegal aliens are now, after Trump’s executive orders, subject to deportation.

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“Under prior enforcement priorities,” Homan told the committee, “approximately 345,000, or 65 percent, of the fugitive alien population were not subject to arrest or removal. President Trump’s [executive orders] have changed that.”

There are now close to 1 million fugitive aliens in the U.S. Almost 90 percent of them are at large. Many, though not all, have criminal records. All are under final orders of removal, and will be deported once apprehended by ICE.

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