MS Risk Blog

US Arrests of Suspected Illegal Immigrants on the Rise

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According to data released by the United States government this month, US arrests of suspected illegal immigrants rose by 38% during the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Detentions by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency increased to 41,318 between 22 January 2017 and the end of April. This was up from 30,028 arrests that occurred in the about the same period in 2016. According ot the ICE, almost two-thirds of those arrested this year had criminal convictions, noting that more than half the increase in arrests was of immigrants who were simply in the US without permission. President Trump has stepped up immigration enforcement to target such undocumented immigrants.

The dragnet follows presidential orders, which have widened the scope of who can be targeted for immigration violations. Acting director of ICA Thomas Homan told reporters on Wednesday 17 May that immigrants who posed a threat to national security or had criminal records were still a priority for this agency, noting however that “there is no category of aliens off the table.” He went on to say that the ICE would continue to target people who had been issued a final order of removal by an immigration judge, even if they had not committed another crime. He stated that “those that enter the country illegally, they do violate the law, that is a criminal act,” adding “when a federal judge makes a decision and issues an order that order needs to mean something.”

While former President Barack Obama was also criticized for deporting a large number of immigrants, most of them were recent illegal border crossers. While President Trump’s signature campaign pledge to build an expanded wall on the US-Mexico border is currently in limbo, after Congress denied funding for it in a recent budget agreement, his tough rhetoric on border security appears to be having an impact on immigration enforcement. US Customs and Border Protection data indicated this month that the number of people caught crossing the border with Mexico is down significantly since the beginning of the year.