Immigration Arrests Climb by Almost 40 Percent Under Trump

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In this handout provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, foreign nationals were arrested by immigration officers on Feb. 9, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Bryan Cox/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Getty Images)

Since President Trump took office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have arrested more than 41,000 people who were known or suspected of being in the country illegally. That's 38 percent more arrests than in the same period last year.

Trump made tougher immigration enforcement a priority of his campaign. Data released Wednesday by ICE show that his administration is making good on that promise.

Nearly 75 percent -- or 30,964, of the people arrested by ICE for deportation in the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency -- were convicted criminals. That includes 2,700 people who had committed violent felonies, including homicide, rape and assault -- or about 6.5 percent of all arrests. In 2016, more than 85 percent -- or 26,756, of people arrested during the same time period -- were convicted criminals.

Days after the inauguration, the Trump administration shifted ICE priorities away from President Barack Obama's approach. The Obama administration had developed a policy of "prosecutorial discretion," to focus resources on deporting violent criminals and recent border crossers. In a Jan. 25 executive order, Trump expanded deportation priorities to include people charged with crimes and those considered suspect by immigration officers.

In a statement Wednesday, Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said: "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 and enforce the law."


The number of ICE arrests of immigrants with no criminal history has more than doubled under Trump. Non-criminal arrests were about 10,800 from Jan. 20 to April 29, 2017, up from about 4,200 non-criminal arrests during the same time period in 2016.

While ICE arrests so far this year are higher than last year, they are lower than in earlier years of Obama's presidency. For example, during the same January-to-April period in 2014, ICE officers arrested almost 55,000 people.

Northern California Sees a Decrease in Immigration Arrests

So far this year, the three field offices that cover California (San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego) showed a nearly 5 percent increase in immigration arrests, compared to the same period last year. The number of arrests of people without criminal convictions was up by more than 50 percent over last year.


The only region where immigration arrests declined slightly was in Northern California. Immigration observers say that decline may be due to local sanctuary policies in places like San Francisco.

These numbers do not include people arrested on immigration violations by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.