Under President Trump’s watch, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has kept busy arresting tens of thousands of migrants, newly obtained data reveal. From January 20, the date of Trump’s inauguration, and June 7, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) division took into its custody 58,954 people. Of those, 15,594, or twenty-six percent of the total, had not been convicted of any crime.
Almost three-quarters of ERO’s arrestees—43,360 individuals—had been convicted of some crime, but the offenses varied tremendously. The most common offenses involved vehicular traffic crimes, followed by drug crimes, assault, and immigration offenses.
Interestingly, a geographic divergence appears in the data that loosely correlates to regional differences in elected officials’ stated readiness to cooperate with ICE. ERO’s staff based out of the New York City area of responsibility arrested 1,009 people during this period. In contrast, staff based out of Atlanta arrested 5,998; the Dallas office took into custody 6,727; and the Houston area of responsibility arrested 5,610.
Overall, these data, which I obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, illustrate that there is some truth to ICE’s comments that it is arresting more people than in the previous year. However, these data suggest that a broader perspective is in order. Even if ERO maintains this pattern, it will not have caught up with the number of arrests during much of President Obama’s time in office. ERO’s arrest numbers vacillated tremendously under Obama’s tenure—and even more so if we widen the lens as far back as 2006.
So far, the Trump DHS appears on track to return to the early Obama years. Where his administration goes from there, only time will tell.