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Illegal border crossing arrests in 2017 are at lowest levels in nearly 50 years

U.S. Border Patrol arrests are at lowest levels since 1971, according to a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection report. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Border arrests along the U.S.-Mexico border plummeted to the lowest level since 1971, according to a Department of Homeland Security report released Tuesday.

Shortly after taking office, President Donald Trump ordered immigration agents to crack down on undocumented immigrants. The order included authorizing agents to arrest all undocumented immigrants as they come across rather than only those accused of serious or violent crimes.

Following Trump's order, the data shows deportations of undocumented immigrants arrested in the interior of the country increased during the 2017 fiscal year by 25 percent to 81,603, from 65,332 in the prior year, the Washington Post reported.

The fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2016, and ended Sept. 30.

What are the numbers?

CBP recorded 310,531 apprehensions by U.S. Border Patrol agents, a 23.7 percent decline over the previous year, the report stated. The total recorded for 2016 was 415,816.

• Of the total apprehensions nationwide, 303,916 were along the Southwest border versus 408,870 in 2016.

• Of those apprehended along the Southwest border, 42 percent were from Mexico. The remaining 58 percent came from Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, up from 54 percent last year.

• Arrests of gang members — including the violent MS-13 international gang whose members are primarily of Central American origin — has jumped 83 percent, Tom Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told NPR.

• Ninety-two percent of those ICE arrests had criminal convictions. "We arrested more criminals this year than last year," Homan said.

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