More immigrants arrested, fewer deported under Trump

Voices from Inside Immigration Detention

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. The number of people caught crossing the border with Mexico is down significantly since the begin of the year, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

President Trump signed the order on January 22.

The figures show that arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions more than doubled.

"These statistics reflect President Trump's commitment to enforce our immigration laws fairly and across the board", acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said. This represents a 38 percent increase over the same period a year ago and an average rate of more than 400 arrests per day. This totaled 10,800 since the beginning of the year compared to 4,200 non-criminal arrests in the same period in 2016.

"I get asked a lot why we arrest somebody that's not a criminal", Homan said. "The day is over when they can stay in our country and wreak havoc".

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While President Barack Obama was also criticized for deporting a large number of immigrants, majority were recent border crossers apprehended entering the country illegally. Another was at the top of ICE's "Most Wanted Fugitives" list. Under Trump, undocumented immigrants simply have to be arrested for a crime - not convicted - to become a priority.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly further expanded the powers of ICE agents through new directives in February. 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.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, left, searches Esteban Amigon while green card holder Sergio Rodriguez removes his belt and shoelaces while they are processed the ICE downtown staging facility in Los Angeles on April 18, 2017. "All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States", said Matthew Bourke, a spokesman for ICE. "We are a nation of laws, and ignoring orders issued by federal judges undermines our constitutional government".

ICE agents arrest a foreign national in Los Angeles on February 7.

The number of people deported from the USA has declined under President Donald Trump.

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