Saturday, May 25, 2024

Trump’s ICE is after all unauthorized immigrants, even those without a record

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is arresting more immigrants, and increasingly they have not been convicted of crimes, according to data released yesterday by the agency.

The new figures, which reflect the first two quarters of the 2018 fiscal year, show that ICE is carrying out the crackdown on unauthorized immigrants that President Donald Trump promised. That means ICE officers are picking up more people with clean records, even if they were previously allowed to remain in the country.

“If somebody has violated our immigration laws, they are priorities now,” Corey Price, the assistant director for enforcement at ICE, told reporters on a conference call, adding that in the final years of Barack Obama’s administration, the agency’s “scope was significantly narrowed.”

ICE arrested nearly 80,000 people from October to the end of March, compared with about 63,000 in the same period the year before. By comparison, the agency arrested about 54,000 people in the first half of the 2016 fiscal year, when Obama’s priority enforcement policies and instructed agents to focus on undocumented immigrants with criminal histories.

While ICE’s arrests were up, deportations were slightly down ― from about 126,000 in the first half of the 2017 fiscal year to about 117,000 in the same period in fiscal year 2018. For both periods, about 54 percent of those removed were convicted criminals.

While most deportations originated with arrests by Customs and Border Patrol, ICE’s share rose for the most recent period; ICE arrested 39 percent of the people deported, up 10 percentage points from the previous year. As a candidate, Trump vowed to take constraints off ICE and allow agents to have more discretion on whom to arrest.