Arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record double under Trump

Law-abiding undocumented immigrants are being targeted in the Trump era

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published April 17, 2017 4:04PM (EDT)

ICE operation. (Getty/Bryan Cox)
ICE operation. (Getty/Bryan Cox)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities have doubled the number of undocumented immigrants without any criminal record arrested during the first months of President Donald Trump's term.

"As [Homeland Security] Secretary [John F.] Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement," ICE spokesperson Jennifer Elzea said in a statement.

On top of rounding up undocumented immigrants at hypothermia shelters or as they seek help as domestic abuse victims, ICE has also arrested undocumented immigrants without criminal records at unprecedented rates — despite the fact that the law enforcement agency focused on those with criminal records in the past. ICE increased the total number of undocumented immigrant arrests by 32.6 percent in the initial weeks of Trump's presidency when compared to the same period last year, according to a report by The Washington Post. This amounts to 21,362 undocumented immigrants from January through mid-March 2017 compared to 16,104 from January through mid-March 2016.

Within this group, there was a significant spike in undocumented immigrants without any criminal record, with the number more than doubling to 5,441.

It is also worth noting that Trump's number of undocumented immigrant arrests is paltry compared to that attained by President Barack Obama in 2014, when 29,238 undocumented immigrants were rounded up.

One concern about the crackdown on undocumented immigrants is that, by targeting individuals who go to courthouses, ICE is discouraging domestic abuse victims from reporting the crimes committed against them. This includes cases like that of Irvin Gonzalez, a transgender woman who in February was arrested at a courthouse while obtaining a protective order against an abusive ex-boyfriend.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump Immigrants Immigration And Customs Enforcement Undocumented Immigrants