Immigration Arrests of ‘Non-Criminals’ Has Increased 156% Under Trump

In the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency, 41,318 undocumented immigrants have been arrested following the signing of executive orders that tighten border security and enhanced sanctuary crackdowns, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a report on Wednesday.

The figure represents a 37.6% increase over the same period last year, which saw the arrest of 30,028 immigrants. Nearly 75% of the current arrests, which equates to 30,473, involved criminals charged with varying offenses like assault, homicide, kidnapping and rape. There were 25,786 criminal aliens arrested last year.

“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,” ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan said.

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Interestingly, the strict enforcement of the law saw 10,845 “non-criminal arrests” within that same time period, a 156% leap from last year’s 4,242 arrests, USA Today noted. But as Homan put it, one is arrested for a reason:

“I get asked a lot why we arrest somebody that’s not a criminal. Those who do enter the country illegally, they do violate the law, that is a criminal act.”

The fates of those taken into custody, however, are unclear. Records of immigration arrests are not available to the public in contrast to those of criminal arrests. For this reason, ICE is able to pick cases to highlight, The Washington Post said.

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In the report, the agency cited the capture of the following: Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez (Salvador), a MS-13 gang member with a record on disorderly conduct, among other offenses; Jose Mercedes Meza-Ignacio (Mexico), wanted for child molestation; Juan Antonio Melchor Molina (Mexico), wanted for murder; Jose Victor Bonilla-Melendez (Honduras), who happens to be one of ICE’s “Most Wanted Fugitives”, and William Magana-Contreras (Salvador), another MS-13 member wanted for aggravated homicide in his country.

Still, Homan assured, “All of those arrested will receive the due process afforded to them under the law. ICE will take action to remove individuals subject to a final order by a federal immigration judge. We are a nation of laws, and ignoring orders issued by federal judges undermines our constitutional government.”

Meanwhile, the report shows a decrease in deportation rates. Within the same time period, ICE removed 56,315 people, a 12% drop from 2016, which Homan attributed to a severe logjam in federal immigration courts.

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Images via Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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