January 18, 2019

ICE reports increased arrests of immigrants with no criminal records

By Pharis Kinyua: Jamhuri News

Photo: Courtesy

Crackdown on immigrants in the U.S stands at 40 percent since January, states a report by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as reported by NBC News.

In essence, it means that 41,000 immigrants have been arrested since January putting the number of arrests made in a single day at 400.

The spike has hit a new high with President Donald Trump’s executive order to close in not only on immigrants with criminal records but also those who are undocumented.

In retired President Barrack Obama’s tenure at the same period last year, the crackdown on immigrants stood at 30,028 (37 percent).

But what is bewildering is the fact that despite Trump’s assurance that arrest would only be on immigrants with criminal records, there is an upsurge of arrest for immigrants who have no criminal records.

“There was a rise in non-criminal arrests over the same period, which increased from approximately 4,200 in 2016 to more than 10,800 in 2017,” reads the report.

But in defense of Trump’s order, ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan in a statement cites that he is doing it all fairly.

“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,” he states.

This move has triggered protests from civil rights organizations which feel that arrest of immigrants is not fully driven by cutting down on crime but to oppress their families.

Chris Rickerd, a policy counsel at the ACLU argues that: “Fewer than 10 percent of criminal arrests were because of violent crimes, so ICE isn’t prioritizing its operations. Six thousand more immigrants without criminal records were arrested this year — their suffering families and separated children are casualties of Trump’s mass deportation agenda.”

Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director of the National Immigrant Justice Center, notes that while Trump hides under the veneer of public safety, the deportations are about tearing apart families.

“These arrests rarely seem to be in the interest of public safety, but rather are tearing apart families, hurting small businesses, and heightening fears in communities that have previously thrived because of their immigrant populations.”

However, ICE’s spokesperson Mathew Bourke says that while trump’s Executive Order focused on deporting those convicted of criminal offences, the undocumented have committed an offense of being in the U.S without legal documentation.

“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,” he said.

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