ICE Arrests and Deportation Statistics for 2017
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been a topic of public debate recently due to the Trump administration’s strict stance against illegal entry into the United States. ICE identifies and arrests illegal aliens who pose a danger to public safety or who have undermined the United States’ immigration laws. The President’s Executive Order 13,768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, expanded ICE’s jurisdiction and gave new instructions for the agency’s focus. This new EO directs ICE to focus on illegal aliens that have been charged or convicted of criminal offenses, engaged in fraud or abuse of public benefits programs, and those who have not complied with their legal obligation to leave the United States.
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Increase in Arrests After Executive Order
In fiscal year 2017, ICE conducted 143,470 Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrests, up from 110,104 in fiscal year 2016 and 119,772 in fiscal year 2015. ERO arrests greatly increased after the President’s Executive Order of the 110,568 ERO arrests conducted between January 20, 2017, and September 30, 2017, 92% of all arrested aliens had a criminal conviction, pending criminal charges, or had failed to comply with a reinstated final order to depart the U.S.
Of the 143,470 arrested in fiscal year 2017, 73.7% or 105,736 of the total arrests were individuals with past criminal convictions. 15.5% had pending criminal charges, and only 10.8% had no known criminal charges or convictions. Of those that had criminal convictions or charges, the most commonly reported crimes include traffic violations for driving under the influence (DUI), dangerous drug offenses, immigration offenses, assault, and larceny.
Where Are These Arrests Happening?
ICE activity has increased throughout the United States over the past year, and some of the hotspots include northern Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. ICE organizes regions of the U.S. by “areas of responsibility” instead of field offices. The Miami area of responsibility encompasses all of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and saw the greatest increase in ICE activity between fiscal years 2016 and 2017. ICE ERO arrests increased 76% in this area between 2016 and 2017. Other areas of the country that saw noticeable increases included:
- The St. Paul area of responsibility, which encompasses Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. ICE arrests increased 67% in this area.
- The Dallas area of responsibility that includes Oklahoma and Northern Texas, which reported a 71% increase in ICE arrests for fiscal year 2017.
- The Atlanta area of responsibility, which include Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. There was a 53% increase in ICE arrests in this area between 2016 and 2017.
- The New Orleans area of responsibility, which covers Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama. There was a 54% increase in ICE arrests from 2016 to 2017 in this area.
There was no region in the United States that reported any decrease in ICE arrests from fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2017. The Dallas area saw the highest number of arrests at 16,520, followed by the Houston area with 13,565 and the Atlanta area with 13,551. New York City reported one of the lowest numbers of arrests in 2017 at 2,576 despite having one of the largest illegal alien populations in the United States. The San Francisco and Los Angeles regions also reported lower increases in ICE arrests between 2016 and 2017 at 9% and 10% respectively, likely due to California lawmakers’ and government officials’ continued patterns of opposing anti-illegal immigration efforts from the Trump administration.
While ICE focuses on immigration violations, the agency is also one of the best defenses against illegal drug imports as well. In 2017, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division announced that it was focusing its efforts on illegal drug imports, specifically fentanyl and other opioids that are spurring the ongoing opioid epidemic in the U.S. ICE made more than 2,300 fentanyl-related arrests in 2017, seizing more than 2,383 pounds of this incredibly dangerous substance. For more information on