Fewer crossing border, fewer deported: Immigration under Trump

President Donald Trump made immigration a hallmark issue of his campaign, and in the first week of his presidency, he signed executive orders suspending immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, bolstering border patrol and deportation efforts and starting the funding process for the promised border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Immigrants appeared to have responded, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection reporting record-low apprehensions at the southwest border in 2017. Yet, despite his hard-line rhetoric, Trump has still deported fewer immigrants than President Barack Obama did in each of the early years of his term.

In 2017, the number of people apprehended or otherwise deemed inadmissible while trying to gain admission at a port of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border fell dramatically. Assuming apprehension tactics remained the same, the numbers suggest fewer people are attempting to cross the border illegally.

Pro-trump border activists in California:

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Trump supporters and border activists in California
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Trump supporters and border activists in California
U.S. President Donald Trump's supporters, like Merilyn Cashman of Dana Point, CA, rally near the US-Mexico border for the presidential visit to California to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/John Gastaldo
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 13: A man wears a shirt mocking CNN as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the President during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by the President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Trump supporters gather as U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade drives past following his viewing of border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. President Trump's supporter Cherie Wood of Chino Hills, CA looks skyward with binoculars trying to spot the president?s aircraft as Trump arrived close to her location during his visit to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/John Gastaldo
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump sing the National Anthem as they rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by the President since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump's supporters rally near the US-Mexico border for the presidential visit to California to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/John Gastaldo
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump's supporters wave to the presidential motorcade as it heads to Brown Field during the Trump's visit to California to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/John Gastaldo
Trump supporters hug after U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade drove past them following his viewing of border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Activists and supporters gather await the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump to during his visit to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Trump supporters wear stars and stripes suits during a pro-Trump rally attended by about 500 people in San Diego, California, March 13, 2017, where President Trump was visiting the nearby border wall protoypes. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
A large police presence watches over protesters and supporters during the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 13: Trump supporters John and Diana Turano, from La Puente, wait across the street from the Intercontinental Hotel where President Trump will spend the night in downtown Los Angeles on March 13, 2018. The Turano's waited in the rain hoping to get a glimpse of the President when he arrives. (Photo by Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Trump supporter Cherie Wood displays a pro-Trump sign during a pro-Trump rally attended by about 500 people in San Diego, California, March 13, 2017, where President Trump was visiting the nearby border wall protoypes. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporter Humbert Cabrera displays a pro-Trump sign during a pro-Trump rally attended by about 500 people in San Diego, California, March 13, 2017, where President Trump was visiting the nearby border wall protoypes. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Trump supporters sing the National Anthem and display pro-Trump signs during a pro-Trump rally attended by about 500 people in San Diego, California, March 13, 2017, where President Trump was visiting the nearby border wall protoypes. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump sing the National Anthem as they rally for the President during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Trump supporters display pro-Trump signs during a pro-Trump rally attended by about 500 people in San Diego, California, March 13, 2017, where President Trump was visiting the nearby border wall protoypes. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
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The number of apprehensions alone for fiscal 2017 hit its lowest total since 1971, according to data from the U.S. Border Patrol.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's annual report describes this trend as "possibly reflecting an increased deterrent effect from ICE's stronger interior enforcement efforts."

Trump signed an executive order five days into his presidency that called for a host of enhanced border protection efforts, including more border patrol agents and an end to the "catch-and-release" policy for handling immigrants apprehended while illegally crossing.

The number of people apprehended or otherwise deemed inadmissible each month fell most sharply between Trump's election and inauguration, suggesting a correlation with the incoming president's policy plans.

Those border apprehensions have rebounded somewhat in recent months.

The overall lower numbers of people apprehended at the border means the U.S. government also clocks fewer deportations at the border. Accordingly, border deportations have decreased under Trump.

But that drop has been coupled with more aggressive deportation policies for "interior deportations," or those immigrants already inside the country. Increased interior deportations mostly offset the decline in border deportations, so total deportations dropped by just 6 percent, or 14,136 people, from fiscal 2016 to 2017.

Yet these deportation totals pale in comparison to the removal numbers of the early Obama administration. ICE deportations under Obama peaked at 409,849 in fiscal 2012 – nearly double the agency's deportations during fiscal 2017, which included the final four months of Obama's term and the first eight months of Trump's presidency.

Trump visits border wall prototypes:

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President Trump visits border wall prototypes amid protests
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President Trump visits border wall prototypes amid protests
US President Donald Trump is shown border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold signs during a protest while standing in front of the current border fence and near the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. The sign on the right reads "Trump, walls can be jumped over". REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
US President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People attach a sign reading "Trump, stop the mass deportations" to the current border fence and near the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, during a protest in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
US President Donald Trump's motorcade arrives at the border fence in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold signs reading "No to the wall" and "Trump, put your wall, but in your territory, not in ours", during a protest near the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, seen behind the current border fence, in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
US President Donald Trump is shown border wall prototypes with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds a sign reading "Trump, put your wall, but in your territory, not in ours", during a protest near the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, seen behind the current border fence, in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
US President Donald Trump arrives to inspect border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold signs reading "No to the wall, Trump," and "Trump, we are not enemies of the USA" during a protest near the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, seen behind the current border fence, in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
US President Donald Trump speaks during an inspection of border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. Donald Trump -- making his first trip to California as president -- warned there would be 'bedlam' without the controversial wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico, as he inspected several prototype barriers. The trip to the 'Golden State' -- the most populous in the country and a Democratic stronghold -- was largely upstaged by his own announcement that he had sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Mexican Federal Police officers stand guard the Mexican side of the Mexico-US border in Tijuana, Baja California state, from where prototypes of the border wall, which US President Donald Trump will inspect on the outskirts of San Diego, in the US, are visible on March 13, 2018. Fresh off a cabinet reshuffle, President Donald Trump was headed for Democratic stronghold California on Tuesday to inspect prototypes of the controversial border wall with Mexico that was the centerpiece of his White House campaign. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLERMO ARIAS (Photo credit should read GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold signs reading "Trump, we will not pay for the wall" and "Trump, stop the mass deportations" near the border fence between Mexico and the U.S., in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Journalists gather at a rooftop near the US -Mexico border as President Trump is expected to inspect the border wall prototypes built outskirts San Diego, in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on March 13, 2018. Fresh off a cabinet reshuffle, President Donald Trump was headed for Democratic stronghold California on Tuesday to inspect prototypes of the controversial border wall with Mexico that was the centerpiece of his White House campaign. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLERMO ARIAS (Photo credit should read GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. police officers use a ladder to climb up a truck parked in front of the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, on the U.S. side of the current border fence, in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes
An agent faces Mexico while standing by the vehicle of U.S. President Donald Trump at the border near San Diego, California, where Trump reviewed wall prototypes designed to serve as a protective barrier against illegal immigrants, drugs and smuggled weapons, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Agent sits on horseback near U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade during a tour of U.S.-Mexico border wall prototypes near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California. U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
TIJUANA, MEXICO - MARCH 13:Anti-Trump protestors demonstrate on the Mexico side of the border before the arrival of the U.S. President to inspect the prototypes of the proposed border wall on March 13, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
The motorcade carrying US President Donald Trump drives past a US-Mexico border fence as Trump head for an inspection of border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. Donald Trump -- making his first trip to California as president -- warned there would be 'bedlam' without the controversial wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico, as he inspected several prototype barriers. The trip to the 'Golden State' -- the most populous in the country and a Democratic stronghold -- was largely upstaged by his own announcement that he had sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Mounted Border Patrol agents are seen as US President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. Donald Trump -- making his first trip to California as president -- warned there would be 'bedlam' without the controversial wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico, as he inspected several prototype barriers. The trip to the 'Golden State' -- the most populous in the country and a Democratic stronghold -- was largely upstaged by his own announcement that he had sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. Donald Trump -- making his first trip to California as president -- warned there would be 'bedlam' without the controversial wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico, as he inspected several prototype barriers. The trip to the 'Golden State' -- the most populous in the country and a Democratic stronghold -- was largely upstaged by his own announcement that he had sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump holds up a poster of before and after photos of a segment of the border wall prototypes with Chief Patrol Agent Rodney S. Scott (R) in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Total deportations by ICE hovered around 400,000 annually in each of the first four years of Obama's presidency. Interior deportations alone exceeded 150,000 annually from fiscal 2009 to 2012 – far greater than Trump's 81,603 during fiscal 2017.

Deportations fell throughout Obama's term, driven largely by declining numbers of interior deportations. Apprehensions at the border also dropped during this period, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, further contributing to the eventual deportation drop.

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