Monday, 11 December, 2017

ICE Arrests in US Rose by 42% in 2017

A U.S. Border Patrol officer stands near prototypes of President Trump's proposed border wall in San Diego.   Frederic J. Brown    
  AFP  Getty Images A U.S. Border Patrol officer stands near prototypes of President Trump's proposed border wall in San Diego. Frederic J. Brown AFP Getty Images
Juana Turner | 07 December, 2017, 01:59

Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said on Tuesday that "overall removals are down because the border is under better control than it has been in 45 years".

ICE said that in Colorado and Wyoming, 2,746 people were arrested and 2,535 were removed from the U.S.in the 2017 fiscal year, which ran from October 1 of last year through September 30 of this year.

The U.S. government deported fewer illegal immigrants in 2017 than it did a year ago, even as it arrested far more people suspected of being in the United States illegally, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics released on Tuesday. The use of force with devices other than firearms has risen almost 30 percent, to 717 instances this year from 554 last year. Trump has yet to get funding for the first installment of his proposed border wall with Mexico and the number of Border Patrol agents declined to less than 19,500 as the government struggle to fill vacancies continued during his presidency.

ICE, whose officers pick up people for deportation, made 143,470 arrests, an increase of 25 per cent from 114,434 a year earlier.

"We're still arresting almost 1,000 people a day coming across the border", said Ronald Vitiello, the CBP acting deputy commissioner. During the fiscal year, which included the Obama administration's final months, border authorities stopped people traveling as families 104,997 times on the Mexican border and unaccompanied children 48,681 times.

However, non-criminal arrests have risen at a faster rate, which rose more than fifty percent compared to a year ago.

Despite the surge in arrests, ICE said removals fell about six percent in the fiscal year to 226,119. ICE immigration officers arrested 105,736 criminal aliens in fiscal year 2017, compared to 10,985 in 2016.

Immigration advocates have raised concerns that ICE's new policies have led to indiscriminate arrests and targeting of communities.

While the numbers of people trying to cross the southern border declined 25 percent, Ron Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said the agency is still concerned about continuing illegal entries by families and unaccompanied children from Central America.

Homan used the announcement to rail against so-called sanctuary cities - municipalities that in some way decline to cooperate with ICE - saying they entice more illegal immigration.

"This isn't just about law enforcement, this is about saving lives", he added.

One reason for the decrease in deportations was that fewer people appeared to be trying to cross USA borders illegally.

Overall, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said, deportations over the last year dropped about 6 percent from the previous year - a number tied to the sharp decline in border crossings as well as a backlog in the immigration courts that process deportations. And removals resulting from an agency arrest went up 37 percent since January 20, ICE said.

Border Patrol, which oversees the United States borders with Mexico and Canada, said it had arrested 310,531 people nationwide - a decrease of about 25% in total arrests.

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