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ICE Triples Arrests of Immigrants Without Criminal Records; Targets “Low Priority” Immigrants, Those on Verge of Getting Green Card

 

So much for targeting “bad hombres.”

A NBC News analysis of ICE data finds that, “Under Trump arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record have tripled”:

Federal arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record have more than tripled under President Donald Trump and may still be accelerating, according to an NBC News analysis of Immigration and Customs Enforcement data from his first 14 months in office.

…ICE “administrative” arrests of immigrants without criminal convictions have spiked 203 percent in the first full 14 months of his presidency compared to the final 14 months of the Obama administration, growing from 19,128 to 58,010, according to NBC’s review of ICE figures. During the same time period, the numbers show that arrests of undocumented immigrants with criminal records grew just 18 percent.

One of the attorneys filing suit, Mark Fleming, associate director of litigation at the Immigrant Justice Center, says he believes many of the kinds of arrests that ICE is making under President Donald Trump are completely new.

“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 said. “It sends a message to the Hispanic community that we intend to racially profile you in your communities.”

It gets worse.

Another way Trump’s ICE is driving up deportation numbers is by going after immigrants who are already known to them, who had been deemed “non-priorities” under prior Administrations.  Since Trump took office, formerly routine ICE “check-in” meetings and some interviews at USCIS offices have turned into deportation roundups.

The ACLU of Massachusetts has sued the Department of Homeland Security over the practice of arresting immigrants, who are following the legal process to obtain green cards, at their USCIS interviews.  In “Agencies set ‘trap’ for immigrants seeking legal status, ACLU says”: the  Boston Globe writes:

Two federal immigration agencies coordinated a campaign to bring unauthorized immigrants who were seeking legal residency in for interviews at government offices, where they were then arrested and in some cases deported, according to internal agency communications.

The interviews were timed at the convenience of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who asked government officials to space out the meetings so the public would be less likely to find out about the arrests, according to e-mails between ICE agents and employees of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services disclosed in court records Monday.

“As far as scheduling goes, I would prefer not to do them all at one time as it is [not] only a strain on our ability to transport and process several arrests at once, but it also has the potential to be a trigger for negative media interests, as we have seen in the past,” Andrew Graham, an ICE officer, wrote to a Citizenship and Immigration Services employee in October.

…ICE has acknowledged that agents in the Boston field office have so far this year detained 17 people around New England at government offices where they were seeking legal status through their families, according to ACLU lawyers. Some of those immigrants have already been deported, the lawyers say.

…E-mails and depositions of ICE agents obtained through the lawsuit show the federal agencies were working “hand-in-hand” to bring people in for interviews so they could be arrested and deported, said Matthew Segal, one of the lawyers for the ACLU. “These were coordinated arrests,” Segal said. “And the marriage interviews that our clients had to go through were in fact set-ups.”

According to Lynn Tramonte, Deportation Defense Coordinator for America’s Voice:

The Trump Administration is thumping its chest over the way it has changed deportation policy, while the rest of us stand shocked and aghast. Increasing the number of immigrants without criminal records being deported by a factor of three. Arresting people who are showing up for their green card interviews and annual ICE check-in meetings. They are spouses and parents of American citizens. They are people who are trying to follow the government’s rules and obtain their green cards. Trump’s ICE is going after the people who are the easiest to find, not those who pose any sort of threat or danger to the public. This is an absolute perversion of priorities and must be stopped.