In the 100 days since President Trump signed an executive order to enhance immigration enforcement, the arrests of undocumented immigrants is up 38% from the same time period in 2016, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data released Wednesday.
ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan said his agency is focusing on undocumented immigrants with criminal records, the “bad hombres” that Trump spoke about throughout his presidential campaign. But the data show that the biggest jump in arrests involved undocumented immigrants without a criminal record, a 156% increase from last year.
Between Jan. 22 and April 29, ICE arrested 10,845 people whose immigration violations were the only marks on their record. That’s nearly triple the 4,242 people arrested during the same time period in President Barack Obama’s final year in office.
Of all the people arrested by ICE this year, nearly 75% had a criminal record. In Obama’s final year in office, 92% of people arrested by ICE in the country had a criminal record.
“I get asked a lot why we arrest somebody that’s not a criminal,” Homan said. “Those who do enter the country illegally, they do violate the law, that is a criminal act.”
Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a group that advocates for immigrants, said Trump’s public comments about going after the most dangerous immigrants were a diversion from his goal: mass deportations.
“If we don’t call it out and stand up to it, America is moving in the direction of committing a mistake of historic proportions — driving millions of immigrants who are deeply rooted in our country out of the country they now call home,” Sharry said.
ICE agents have been able to arrest more non-criminals due to an executive order Trump signed on Jan. 25. In that order, the president expanded the pool of undocumented immigrants considered “priorities” for deportation.
Under Obama, undocumented immigrants had to be a gang member, convicted of a felony, or convicted of several misdemeanors to be deemed a deportation priority. Under Trump, undocumented immigrants simply have to be arrested for a crime — not convicted — to become a priority. Trump also allowed ICE agents to focus on undocumented immigrants who they deem to be a “risk to public safety or national security.” full story