Infuriating New Data Shows Just Who Trump's Immigration Force is Really Arresting

Infuriating New Data Shows Just Who Trump’s Immigration Force is Really Arresting

Non-Offenders Rounded Up for Deportation Under Trump

Under Donald Trump, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been rounding up innocent people, the Washington Post reported Friday. Since Trump’s inauguration following his Electoral College victory, ICE has stepped up random raids. The president campaigned on an overtly racist platform of scapegoating Mexicans and Muslims, and promised a massive campaign of deportation. The raids are designed to intimidate entire communities of immigrants, and set the groundwork for large scale civil rights violations. A new study shows that many of the undocumented immigrants who have been caught under the heel of ICE’s boot had never done anything wrong before, or only had minor infractions that were often years-old. This marks a sharp departure from Barack Obama’s administration policies, which focused immigration enforcement on the worst offenders.

The Washington Post obtained ICE records from Congressional aides. The records showed that “half of the 675 immigrants picked up in roundups across the United States in the days after President Trump took office” had either never been convicted of anything, or their worst offense was a traffic violation, such as a DUI.

Related: Deporting And Terrorizing Undocumented Immigrants Will Cause Economic Collapse—Just Ask Alabama

The Trump administration has previously insisted that it would only arrest “criminals.” But it has begun aggressively redefining what constitutes a “criminal” in the context of immigration. This included setting up a hotline for people to rat out their neighbors as “criminal aliens,” which was appropriately trolled by people calling up to report encounters with space aliens. This redefinition is strictly rhetorical, not legal, but the White House seems hellbent on creating a new perception of immigrants. It’s important to note that most immigration violations are misdemeanors, and many simply overstayed a visa, which is roughly equivalent to violating the terms of a contract, not a “criminal” offense. A huge percentage of those recently rounded up had not been charged with anything, or minor charges were pending. The Washington Post reported,

Two people had been convicted of homicide, 80 had been convicted of assault, and 57 had convictions for “dangerous drugs.” Many of the most serious criminals were given top billing in ICE news statements about the operation.

The largest single group — 163 immigrants convicted of traffic offenses — was mentioned only briefly. Over 90 percent of those cases involved drunken driving, ICE said Friday. Of those taken into custody in the raids, 177 had no criminal convictions at all, though 66 had charges pending, largely immigration or traffic offenses.

The Post discovered a 32% increase in deportations since last year, and at least 5,441 individuals deported who had no criminal records. Since it clearly doesn’t care about the human cost of destroying working families, the Trump administration should at least study the economic devastation that follows an exodus of undocumented immigrants.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.

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Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.

ReverbPress Mobile Apps ReverbPress iOS App ReverbPress Android App ReverbPress App