The Trump administration has bolstered its campaign to deport criminal illegal immigrants by getting countries to stop blocking the transfers and take them back, according to key Homeland Security officials.

Led by its success in getting Iraq to shift gears, the administration is looking to cut the number of "recalcitrant nations" even further as it speeds up the arrest of illegal immigrants and visa overstayers who have criminal records.

"It is big news. It shows that some of these countries see that they can't get away with stiff arming us anymore, that there will be consequences," said Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the Obama and Trump administrations, in a combined effort from the departments of state and homeland security, have cut the number of recalcitrant nations in half.

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