Immigrant arrests soar under Trump, fewer deported

Darin HammondMay 18, 2017

This represents a 38 percent increase over the same period a year ago and an average rate of more than 400 arrests per day.

WASHINGTON ― New figures indicate President Donald Trump is following through on his promise to crack down on undocumented immigrants, with deportation officer arrests up by about 38 percent during the first 100 days of his presidency compared to the same period a year ago.

Such cities limit their cooperation with federal authorities who enforce immigration law, including possibly not honoring immigration detainers placed on people in jail who commit unrelated offenses.

ICE agents have been able to arrest more non-criminals due to an executive order Trump signed on January 25.

In a highly unusual move, the federal law enforcement agency released details of the number of arrests it had made in a 98-day period under the new president. The agency has recorded more than 10,800 arrests of non-criminal aliens so far in 2017, compared with about 4,200 in the first four months of 2016. Another was at the top of ICE's "Most Wanted Fugitives" list. On Wednesday, they said the immigrants arrested since Trump's executive order include Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez, an alleged MS-13 gang member from El Salvador captured in NY in February; Juan Antonio Melchor Molina, a fugitive wanted for a 2008 murder in Mexico who was arrested last month in Dallas; and William Magana-Contreras, another reputed MS-13 member arrested in Houston last month.

Magana-Gonzalez said he does not resent the agents for doing their job, but he does have regrets.

The data shows that in 2017, between 22 January and 29 April, Ice agents arrested 41,318 individuals, compared with 30,028 in nearly the identical time period in 2016.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they need more cooperation from local law enforcement to detain unauthorized immigrants, particularly if they commit serious crimes.

While arrests of immigrants rose, the number of deportations fell 12 percent during the period, Homan said. ICE officials say the main focus is arresting these criminals and keeping Americans safe.

Of those arrested nearly two-thirds had criminal convictions, Reuters said.

Since Trump took office, about one-third of those picked up nationally by the agency's enforcement and removal operations do not have criminal records, according to ICE data. Trump has reversed some Obama immigration policies and has said that anyone who is in the United States illegally could face deportation.

Liza Ryan, director of organizing with Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, describes a chilling effect communities experience when immigrants are too afraid to report crimes due to fears of deportation.

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