Deportations and arrests of undocumented immigrants without criminal records soared in President Donald Trump's first year of office.
The Detroit Free Press analyzed data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S Border Patrol (USBP), and found a significant increase in the deportations and arrests of non-criminal immigrants.
The Free Press reports a 117% increase in the number of deportations of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records, and 23% increase in deportations of immigrants with criminal records. Overall, deportations in Michigan and Ohio increased 56 percent.
There was a 126% increase of ICE arrests of non-criminal undocumented immigrants, and a 52% increase of arrests overall.
This reporting confirms the suspicions of many immigrants and immigration rights advocates, who have said that non-criminal deportations have risen, despite the Trump administration's rhetoric that they are prioritizing immigrants with criminal records.
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"We're definitely seeing a rise in people without criminal records being detained in all settings — people in their homes, people out on the streets, people who are driving," said Ruby Robinson, the supervising attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. "It's really creating a lot of havoc. People are worried, scared to leave their home, take their kids to school, given this pretty substantial rise in the number of detentions."
Khaalid Walls, spokesman for the Michigan and Ohio branches of ICE, told the Free Press in a statement that "ICE is focused on removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges."
The data from ICE in Michigan and Ohio also confirms a national increase of non-criminal immigrant deportations, which is likely due to an executive order signed by Trump in February 2017 that "effectively granted immigration agents the authority to arrest and detain any undocumented immigrant they wanted," according to CNN.