Priority Enforcement Program
In 2014, President Obama enacted the Priority Enforcement Program to focus ICE’s efforts on undocumented immigrants that posed a threat to public safety.
Following a record number of ICE arrests during his first term (1.18 million in three years), President Obama enacted the Priority Enforcement Program to focus ICE efforts on individuals convicted of significant criminal offenses or who otherwise pose a threat to public safety. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, the program’s first year, PEP significantly changed the criminal makeup of unauthorized immigrants removed by ICE. Of the immigrants deported that year, 92% were convicted of a crime. ICE agents’ strict adherence to the priorities and prosecutorial discretion significantly reduced overall deportations, from 315,943 in FY2014 to 240,255 in FY2016.