The latest data on deportation proceedings from the U.S. immigration court system underscores how migration flows have shifted in recent years, changes driven in part by surging murder rates in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and drought conditions in the region.
According to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which collects and analyzes federal data:
So far this fiscal year only one in four filings (25%) involve individuals from Mexico. With 15,821 new proceedings so far this fiscal year, this is still the largest nationality group represented in Immigration Court proceedings. Not far behind is a growing number of cases involving those from El Salvador, currently numbering 14,512.
So far this fiscal year, more than one third (35%) of new Immigration Court filings have involved women with children or unaccompanied children seeking refuge in this country. These cases continue to originate largely with three Central American countries: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Guatemala places in third, with 11,000 filings so far. The totals represent filings recorded from October 2015 through February 2016.
Filings involving Mexicans peaked in 2009 when the Department of Homeland Security sought to deport around 130,000 people from the country. The number of Mexican proceedings has fallen by about two-thirds since then.
WSJ reported earlier this year that the Obama administration has begun detaining Central Americans who have evaded deportation orders, launching a crackdown on people illegally in the country.