ICE successfully used its massive enforcement resources to target migrants with criminal histories in President Obama’s last two fiscal years in office. Most of those, however, had been convicted of nothing more serious than an immigration crime.
Government data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request casts doubt on the Obama administration’s frequent claim that it targeted dangerous individuals. Of the 235,413 people removed by ICE in fiscal year 2015, fifty-nine percent (139,368) had been convicted of a crime.
Leading the list of types of crime were immigration offenses. Thirty-two percent (44,624) of people removed with a criminal history had an immigration crime offense as their most serious conviction. Drug offenders followed with 23,721 people removed. The top three crime categories were rounded out by vehicular traffic offenses at 19,661 individuals removed.
A similar picture appeared the following year. Of the 240,255 people removed by ICE, fifty-seven percent (138,669) had a prior conviction on their record.
Immigration offenders again topped the list counting 46,727 individuals removed. Next came drug offenders at 23,517 and traffic offenders at 19,805.
These data fit neatly into a years-long trend under Obama. From 2010 to 2013, for example, between forty-four and forty-nine percent of removed individuals had been convicted of a crime.
Immigration crimes usually led the list of crimes blemishing those individuals’ records. Traffic offenses and drug offenses tended to follow.