U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has recently tripled the number of arrests of immigrants without criminal convictions, according to an analysis conducted by NBC News. Specifically, the arrests jumped up from 19,128, during the last 14 months of the Obama administration, up to a staggering 58,010, during the Trump administration’s first 14 months. An ICE spokesperson told NBC News that a criminal conviction in this regard refers to any misdemeanor or felony.
Moreover, the Immigrant Defense Project’s recently published ICEwatch report also provides evidence of the agency’s aggressive tactics targeting immigrants on Long Island outside of courthouses or even in taxis, placing them on an accelerated path to deportation.
Mark Fleming, associate director of litigation at the Immigrant Justice Center, is one of the attorneys suing the federal government in a class-action lawsuit for its warrantless, wide-scale arrests.
“What’s really different about this enforcement action is that they are literally doing roving stops, whether by car or on foot, stopping people without any sort of articulable facts,” Fleming told NBC News. “It sends a message to the Hispanic community that we intend to racially profile you in your communities.”
While mass raids have not taken place on Long Island, other parts of the country are seeing the kinds of street sweeper operations that have not been widespread within living memory. In these operations, ICE officers dressed in generic jackets labeled “police” have stopped and questioned both pedestrians and drivers in Latinx neighborhoods, without any apparent intelligence about the immigration status of those they stop. In most of these stops, ICE officers have neither judicial nor even administrative warrants.
The aforementioned increase in arrests, from Obama’s last 14 months to Trump’s first 14 months, of those without criminal convictions represents a 203 percent spike. Meanwhile, during the same time frame, arrests of immigrants with criminal records grew only 18 percent. ICE’s priorities are glaring and contradict alleged White House directives to target criminals for deportation.
– contributions from Pat Young