As part of a series of tweets to tout the court’s ruling that rejected arguments that his administration overreached in waiving laws that required reviews before any border wall construction could start, President Donald Trump on Wednesday also reiterated data on illegal crossings.
45 year low on illegal border crossings this year. Ice and Border Patrol Agents are doing a great job for our Country. MS-13 thugs being hit hard.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
The president is apparently referring to a Department of Homeland Security report released in December that showed the arrests of people trying to cross illegally into the United States from Mexico decreased to the lowest level since 1971, as fewer people attempted to do so, while at the same time immigration arrests in the interior of the country increased by 25 percent, according to NPR.
The DHS data revealed that Border Patrol officers arrested 310,531 people for being in the country illegally in fiscal 2017, a 25 percent decrease from the year before. Meanwhile, arrests by agents with ICE in the interior of the country went up from the year before to 143,470 immigrants — mostly Central Americans.
In addition’s Trump’s mention in the tweet of “MS-13 thugs being hit hard” has been a common theme for the president.
But Business Insider reported that “while ICE and the White House have touted the number of suspected gang members among those arrestees, the links between gangs and some of those arrested are tenuous.”
ICE said it arrested 796 people linked to MS-13 in 2017, an increase from 434 in 2016. Of those 796, 555 were arrested on criminal charges and 241 were held for removal for administrative reasons.
In some cases, however, it’s not clear how those links are determined.
For example, Walter Barrientos, organizing director of immigrant-advocacy group Make The Road on Long Island, contends that “we’ve seen young people labeled as gang members because they are wearing a t-shirt and a teacher at a school who is not a trained expert thought they overheard something, ” according to the Business Insider.