Statistics released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 17 indicated that during the 100 days since President Trump signed multiple executive orders regarding immigration enforcement priorities, ICE agents have arrested more than 41,000 individuals who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally. This represents an increase of 37.6 percent over the same period in 2016.
A report about these findings posted on the ICE website quoted a statement from ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan, who said:
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.
The ICE statement noted that nearly 75 percent of those arrested during this period in 2017 are convicted criminals, with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges.
The arrest of aliens at-large in the community increased by more than 50 percent, from 8,381 last year to 12,766 arrests this year during the same period.
Furthermore, the arrest of convicted criminal aliens climbed nearly 20 percent, from 25,786 last year to 30,473 this year.
ICE noted that violent crimes such as homicide, rape, kidnapping, and assault accounted for more than 2,700 convictions of illegal aliens.
We reported last January that during a ceremony at the Department of Homeland Security on January 25 honoring DHS’s newly confirmed secretary, retired Gen. John Kelly, President Trump signed an executive order to begin construction of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and to improve immigration enforcement. This increased enforcement includes ending the “catch and release” policy practiced by the Obama administration. Under “catch and release,” illegal border crossers were issued a “notice to appear” and released, instead of being detained and processed for deportation.
Although arrests of illegal aliens rose, the number of deportations fell 12 percent during the period, Homan said.
The acting ICE director attributed the drop to a decline in arrests on the U.S.-Mexico border, where deportations of illegal border crossers are usually processed quickly, as well as a lengthy backlog in U.S. immigration courts that issue deportation orders.
Although the Trump administration has prioritized the apprehension and deportation of illegal aliens with criminal records, in the course of their enforcement activities, ICE agents as a matter of course arrest illegals whose only crime is entering the country illegally. Since illegal entry is a violation of our laws, these people are being processed for deportation in greater numbers than they were under the Obama administration, which often failed to enforce immigration law violations.
Consequently, in addition to the increase in the arrests of illegal aliens convicted of crimes besides illegal entry, there was also a rise in “non-criminal” arrests during the Trump administration. They have increased from approximately 4,200 in 2016 to more than 10,800 in 2017
“As Secretary Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States,” NBC News quoted Matthew Bourke, a spokesman for ICE.