ICE Reports Immigration Arrests Up in Early 2017

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that in the 100 days subsequent to the signing of President Donald Trump's Executive Orders regarding immigration enforcement priorities, the ICE “has arrested more than 41,000 individuals who are known or suspected of being in the country illegally” [PDF version].

Between January 22, 2017, and April 29, 2017, the ICE reported that it administratively arrested 41,318 individuals on civil immigration charges. This represents a 37.6 percent increase from January 24, 2016 to April 30, 2016, when the ICE arrested 30,028 individuals on civil immigration charges.

Customs Enforcement (ICE) report

The ICE explained that “[n]early 75 percent of those arrested during this period in 2017 are convicted criminals.” The ICE arrested 30,473 aliens convicted of criminal offenses in the 2017 period compared to 25,786 in the 2016 period. The ICE increased arrests of aliens at-large in the community from 8,381 in 2016 to 12,766 in the corresponding period in 2017, an increase of more than 50 percent.

Although the ICE reiterated that the data shows that it has focused on arresting convicted criminals, it noted that the Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, “has made it clear that ICE will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the country illegally” [see article]. To this effect, the ICE arrested in excess of 10,800 non-criminal aliens in the 2017 period compared to approximately 4,200 in the 2016 period.

Please see the following chart created by the ICE for a detailed comparison of immigration arrests in corresponding periods in 2017 and 2016:

Immigration arrest

[Click image to view full size]

The ICE includes the following statement form the Acting Director of ICE, Thomas Homan [see blog]:

“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 to 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 policy changes spurred by President Trump's Executive Orders and implemented through Secretary Kelly's Memoranda [see article] are showing dividends in improving immigration enforcement both in the interior, as discussed in this post, and in the area of border security [see blog]. As I have argued on site, improving internal enforcement is a key component of any effort to reform our system of immigration laws [see blog]. While ICE's statistics appear promising, it will be important for ICE agents and the entire DHS to ensure that all those arrested, in Acting Director Homan's words, “receive the due process afforded to them under the law.”