The Trump administration is following through on the President’s promise to crack down on undocumented immigrants, with arrests up nearly 40% since Jan. 22, officials said Wednesday.
Overall, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 41,300 people suspected of being in the country illegally during Trump’s first 100 days in office.
According to ICE, nearly 75% of those arrested were “convicted criminals, with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges.”
Over the same time period last year, 30,000 immigrants were arrested.
Still, in spite of Trump’s vow to focus on immigrants with criminal records, the data show that the biggest spike in arrests has involved those who had broken no law.
Between Jan. 22 and April 29, 10,845 people were arrested whose only violation was their immigration status. That’s a 156% jump from the 4,242 people arrested over the same period last year.
“(W)hen we encounter others who are in the country unlawfully, we will execute our sworn duty and enforce the law,” acting ICE director Thomas Homan said in a statement.
Despite the spike in arrests, the number of deportations carried out was down 12% from late January to late April compared to a year ago.
Homan attributed the drop to a decline in arrests on the U.S.-Mexico border, where immigrants are usually shipped home quickly, along with a lengthy backlog in U.S. immigration courts.
The increase in arrests of people without criminal convictions has generated outrage among Trump opponents, who believe that otherwise-law-abiding families are being rounded up.
“These guys spin, distort, exaggerate, and dissemble almost as much as the President they work for,” said Frank Sharry, the executive director of the immigrant reform group America’s Voice. “Instead of targeting serious criminals, they are targeting every immigrant they can get their hands on, and calling all of them criminals.”
Immigration enforcement operations have generated headlines nationwide since Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 25.
With News Wire Services