US Immigration Arrests Increased By 30% In 2017
The number of undocumented migrants who were arrested in the United States last year rose to a three-year high. According to new figures, a total of 143,470 individuals were held by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These individuals were held on something known as an administrative arrest, which means they are detained in civil violation of the US immigration laws.
The largest increases in arrests were seen in Florida, Northern Texas and Oklahoma. There was also a 50% increase in ICE arrests in the cities of New Orleans, Atlanta, Boston and Detroit when comparing 2016 and 2017. More than 16,500 arrests were recorded in the Dallas area of Texas alone.
In 2009, there were nearly 298,000 arrests, but this number dropped sharply after President Obama came into office. In January 2017, when Donald Trump signed an executive order to help “bolster” immigration controls, there was a sharp rise in arrests. In contrast, the number of arrests made by the US Customs and Border Protection declined by 25% between 2016 and 2017.
The ICE has been criticised for its heavy-handed approach to border control. There have been numerous high-profile mistakes, including the arrest of a Kansas professor in January 2017. The man, who is originally from Bangladesh, has been living in the US for the past three decades. He now faces deportation, despite having three children with US citizenship. A Palestinian man who had been living in Ohio for 40 years was also arrested and faced deportation.
In order to carry out his plans to tighten border security and remove undocumented migrants from the country, Trump also signed an executive order to withhold federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities”. This move was blocked by a California court in April.
A sanctuary city will allow all individuals to access municipal services, regardless of their immigration status. City officials will also decline to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officials and will not pass on the details of those who face detention or deportation. There were nearly 500 sanctuary cities in the United States by the middle of 2017.