The rollback of an Obama-era policy that prioritized the arrest and deportation of immigrants with a criminal background over those without a rap sheet is having the intended effect, according to data provided Wednesday by U.S.
The Trump administration's rush to remove any and all undocumented immigrants has resulted in an nearly 40 percent increase in immigration arrests - with the largest arrest spike being in immigrants with no criminal offense other than being undocumented, according to a new government report released Wednesday.
During the period between January 22 and April 29, ICE arrested 41,318 people on immigration-related charges, according to a statement released by the department.
Immigration arrests increased by almost 40 percent in early 2017 as newly emboldened agents under President Donald Trump detained more than 40,000 people suspected of being in the country illegally - with a renewed focus on immigrants without criminal convictions. Now, ICE agents are allowed to round up anybody they encounter and arrest them if they're in the country illegally, which has driven up the number of non-criminals arrested by the agency.
The number of arrests of suspected undocumented immigrants, has increased by nearly 40 per cent since Donald Trump became the president.
ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan said his agency is focusing on undocumented immigrants with criminal records, the "bad hombres" that Trump spoke about throughout his presidential campaign.
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"While these data clearly reflect the fact that convicted criminals are an immigration enforcement priority, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has made it clear that ICE will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the country illegally", ICE said in its report.
While President Barack Obama was also criticized for deporting a large number of immigrants, majority were recent border crossers apprehended entering the country illegally.
The growing number of arrests is partly due to the fact that ICE has been authorized to arrest all removable aliens, not just those convicted of serious crimes.
The number of people deported from the US has declined under President Donald Trump.
Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, a group that advocates for immigrants, said Trump's public comments about going after the most risky immigrants were a diversion from his goal: mass deportations.