When it comes to immigration policy, a lot of talk has surrounded the arrest and deportation of illegal immigrants. Many believe the focus should be on those who have committed other crimes, violent crimes in particular.
President Trump campaigned hard on immigration, and one of the first executive orders he signed addressed border security and immigration enforcement improvements. Now the results of that are coming in, and they will likely be upsetting for the aforementioned group.
Immigration arrests rose 32.6 percent in the first weeks of the Trump administration, with newly empowered federal agents intensifying their pursuit of not just undocumented immigrants with criminal records, but also thousands of illegal immigrants who have been otherwise law-abiding.
King County, Washington, prosecutor Dan Satterberg told The Washington Post that he wasn’t happy about the change:
“My sense is that ICE is emboldened in a way that I have never seen. The federal government, in really just a couple of months, has undone decades of work that we have done to build this trust.”
ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea explained that now “anyone in the United States illegally could be deported”:
“[ICE] focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. However, as [Homeland Security] Secretary [John F.] Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”
To that end, CNN reported just under a month ago that ICE was “targeting ‘sanctuary cities’ with raids.” Alabama.com wrote in early March that ICE raids have ‘blown up’ in Alabama since Trump immigration orders went into effect. It noted that the raids and the detention of illegal immigrants were happening at higher rates in the state than in any other state in the Deep South.
The Washington Post reported that from January through mid-March, there had been 21,362 ICE arrests nationally, most of whom were convicted criminals. During the same time period in 2016, the number of arrests was 16,104. The number of arrests of illegal immigrants with no criminal record has more than doubled this year so far, with a total of 5,441.