ICE arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions rises: report

ICE arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions rises: report

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are increasingly picking up immigrants without legal status who do not have a record of criminal conviction, despite the Trump administration's promise to focus on those with criminal backgrounds.

ICE data released by the agency and obtained by HuffPost finds that nearly two-thirds of all such immigrants arrested by ICE agents between October 2017 and April 2018 had no criminal convictions.

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That is a 21 percent rise from the same period in 2016 and 2017 and a 13 percent rise from the year prior to that. The agency noted that some of those arrested had been charged with a crime and had not yet been convicted.

ICE Assistant Enforcement Director Corey Price said during a press call that the agency's scope was "narrowed" during the Obama administration, but that ICE has since abandoned its policy of targeting just criminal aliens for deportation.

“If somebody has violated our immigration laws, they are priorities now,” Price told reporters, according to the report.

While more conviction-less immigrants are being detained, the number actually being deported remains about the same. Overall, about 54 percent of deported immigrants without legal status in the first half of fiscal 2018 had criminal convictions, a figure unchanged from the year before.

Trump praised his administration's efforts for targeting immigrants affiliated with gangs such as MS-13 in remarks at the White House on Wednesday.

“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,” Trump said. “These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

--Updated at 9:37 a.m.