According to Mexican government data, Trump sent home fewer illegal immigrants in 2017 than Obama did during the same amount of time in 2016.
Data from Mexico’s Interior Ministry revealed that 152,000 Mexican nationals were repatriated (read: sent back to their home country) between Jan. and Nov. of this year, compared to the 205,000 repatriated between Jan. and Nov. during Obama’s last year in office. This amounts to 26 percent fewer Mexican nationals sent home, notes Bloomberg.
An end-of-year report from The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attributed this decrease to the 17 percent fewer undocumented immigrants apprehended at the border.
ICE also recorded, however, "its greatest number of administrative arrests as compared with the past three fiscal years" at 143,470. This was a 30 percent increase from fiscal year 2016.
To Bloomberg, the acting press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Tyler Q. Houlton, said in an email statement: "For Mexicans who enter illegally, effective tools like expedited removal have led to increased deterrence, which has impacted entry levels."
Updates on building a wall
Right off the bat, Trump called Mexicans "rapists" and criminals during his campaign launch in 2015 — and chants of "build a wall" were born.
Despite criticism, Trump's stance on immigration has been unchanging: he’s focused on upping border security, cracking down on "sanctuary cities" and reaching overall immigration reform.
"This president has done more for border security and public safety than any of the six presidents I’ve worked for," Thomas Homan, Trump’s acting director of ICE, claimed on "Fox & Friends" earlier this month. "Just since his leadership in January, border crossings are at a 45-year low. Now that's not a coincidence. That's because this president has let the men and women of Border Patrol and ICE do their job."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has started to test prototypes for the wall Trump vowed to build.
"In response to the president’s executive order on border security and immigration enforcement improvement, subsequent guidance from the Department of Homeland Security, CBP selected six contractors to build eight wall prototypes on the border near San Diego," CBP acting deputy commissioner Ronald Vitiello said in a December press conference.
According to Vitiello, construction began in September and ended in October.
"We have begun testing in the evaluation phase," Vitiello said. "We know however that the wall is part of a larger enforcement security system, so we are committed to using new technologies to augment our resources and employ sensors, lighting, radar and fixed and mobile towers."
According to the Associated Press, the prototypes all reach their maximum of 30 feet high and must withstand tests such as attempts to "scale or breech the walls." Four are solid concrete and the other four are made of a combination of materials.
Ultimately, the project still needs approval for $1.8 billion in construction funding.
"Everything that we do new from this point forward will require appropriations," Vitiello told NBC. "It will be expensive."
On top of that, AP reports that lawsuits aim to block further construction. Among these are at least four filed by environmental nonprofits over wildlife concerns and one from California’s Democratic attorney general Xavier Becerra. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 9.