Immigration Arrests Rise Almost 40 Percent in Trump's First 100 Days

ICE agents at a home in Atlanta during a targeted enforcement operation in February. (Bryan Cox / ICE via AP)
Emma Niles
Assistant Editor
Emma Niles, an assistant editor at Truthdig, graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a degree in political science. She has worked for the National Women’s Law Center and Ms. Magazine.…
Emma Niles

ICE agents at a home in Atlanta during a targeted enforcement operation in February. (Bryan Cox / ICE via AP)

Arrests of undocumented immigrants in the United States rose by almost 40 percent in the first several months of President Trump’s administration, according to figures released Wednesday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

According to the ICE report:

In the 100 days since President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Orders (EOs) regarding immigration enforcement priorities, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested more than 41,000 individuals who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally. This reflects an increase of 37.6 percent over the same period in 2016.

Between Jan. 22 and April 29, 2017, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers administratively arrested 41,318 individuals on civil immigration charges. Between Jan. 24 and April 30, 2016, ERO arrested 30,028.

“These statistics reflect President Trump’s commitment to enforce our immigration laws fairly and across the board. ICE agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the arrest of convicted criminal aliens. However, when we encounter others who are in the country unlawfully, we will execute our sworn duty and enforce the law. As the data demonstrates, ICE continues to execute our mission professionally and in accordance with the law, and our communities will be much safer for it,” said ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan.

“In contradiction to Trump’s past claims that immigrants with criminal convictions would be prioritised for deportation, nearly 11,000 had no criminal convictions,” Al-Jazeera reports. “That is more than double the number of immigrants without criminal convictions arrested during a comparable period last year.”

The new data reflect Trump’s campaign promise to crack down on undocumented immigration in the U.S. and come after months of anecdotes about immigration raids and arrests in various communities. And while numbers have shown that deportations were lower under Trump than in the same period a year ago, the new information is the first concrete evidence of the new administration’s strict immigration policy in action.

“That increase is a result of recent guidance given by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to implement Trump’s executive orders on interior immigration enforcement and border security signed on Jan. 25, just days after the Republican president took office,” Reuters adds. It continues:

“Those that enter the country illegally, they do violate the law, that is a criminal act,” Homan said on the call, while emphasizing that immigrants who pose a threat to national security or have criminal records are still a priority for the agency.

He said ICE will continue to target people who have been issued a final order of removal by an immigration judge even if they have not committed another crime.

“When a federal judge makes a decision and issues an order that order needs to mean something,” Homan said. “If we don’t take action on those orders, then we are just spinning our wheels.”

“We are a nation of laws,” Homan concluded in the ICE press release, “and ignoring orders issued by federal judges undermines our constitutional government.”

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