Deportations Are Down, But Immigration Arrests Are Up 43 Percent

By Kenrya Rankin Sep 29, 2017

During his campaign for president, Donald Trump promised to deport “bad hombres”—his coded racist term for Latinx undocumented immigrants—saying he would deport millions of people with criminal records. It seems his administration is working on that promise.

Statistics provided to The Washington Post show that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is on track to deport fewer people during the 2017 federal fiscal year ending September 30 than were deported during the same period last year when former President Barack Obama was in office. As of September 9, ICE had deported 211,068 immigrants this year, versus 240,255 last year.

But a look at arrest numbers shows that the dip in deportations is not for lack of trying. ICE reports that agents have made 43 percent more arrests since Trump moved into the White House than they did in the same period last year. And the category of immigrants with the fastest-growing number of arrests is that of “non-criminal immigration violators”—people with no criminal records. ICE arrested more than 28,000 of them between January 22 and September 2.

The Washington Post attributes the decrease in deportations to a Customs and Border Protection-reported drop in people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and a backlog of 632,261 cases caused by the increase in arrests and detentions.

Yesterday (September 28), ICE released a statement about so-called Operation Safe City, a program that targets people in cities where officials advocate for sanctuary status for immigrants. The agency says that in the four-day period ending Wednesday (September 27), it arrested 498 people from 42 countries. Of them, 317 reportedly had criminal convictions on their records.