Data published last week by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) show that border arrests are at their lowest in 46 years, while arrests in the interior of the country have sharply risen, but not for the reasons the Trump administration would have the public believe.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released figures recording 310,531 arrests of cross-border “illegal migration” for fiscal year 2017, a 23.7 percent decline from last year. While the CBP attempts to credit this to the Trump administration’s alleged commitment to “enforce the rule of law,” it is more reflective of an already existing trend of declining arrests on the border, as shown by the CBP’s own data.
For example, in 2000, there were 1,676,438 such arrests. By the time Barack Obama was elected to office in 2008, those arrests totaled 723,825. Midway through his tenure in 2012, those arrests dropped again to 364,768, rising slightly to 415,816 by 2016.
Meanwhile, inside the country, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ramped up deportations by 25 percent, jumping from 65,332 to 81,603, while interior arrests rose 30 percent from 110,104 to 143,470. Again, ICE credits Trump’s hardline stance of immigration to these “gains.”
However, out of the arrests, there were 15,478 individuals who had no criminal convictions nor charges leveled against them. Also, at-large arrests—those made in the community, as opposed to custodial arrests made in jails or prisons—jumped from 30,348 in 2016 to 40,066 in 2017.
“The total number of at-large arrests increased after [Trump’s executive order on immigration policy] was issued, particularly in those areas that do not honor ICE detainers or limit or restrict ICE’s access to their jail population,” the ICE report read.
This clearly illustrates that ICE is not only targeting the community itself, but has in its crosshairs those municipalities that are attempting to shield immigrants from the zealotry of the mass deportation agenda.
While true criminals constitute a definitive threat to the United States, the Trump-led DHS is pursuing a reckless, ends-justify-the-means approach that is damaging the fabric of our immigrant communities.