Undocumented immigrants with no criminal history are being arrested at a record pace by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, according to a new report from the Washington Post.
During 2017, ICE conducted 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests—more than double the 2016 total, according to the Post, which noted that some of those arrested were facing pending charges, but lacked any criminal record at the time of their arrest. The spike largely follows the same upward momentum suggested by federal data released this past spring, which showed that approximately one in four undocumented immigrants arrested between January and mid-March of 2017 had no criminal record.
While alarming, the jump in non-criminal ICE arrests hardly comes as a surprise. It’s a sign of the agency’s unhinged willingness to target any and every undocumented immigrant in the country, no matter what. During President Trump’s first year in office, ICE agents have made a point of targeting undocumented parents waiting at their child’s hospital bedside, immigrants attempting to obtain legal status, and even former DACA recipients whose status previously shielded them from deportation. As ICE acting director Thomas Homan made painfully clear this past June, the agency sees any and all undocumented immigrants as criminals first and foremost.
Oddly, the Post’s report also claims that “ICE has not carried out mass roundups or major workplace raids under Trump.”
In fact, ICE has conducted both major workplace raids and mass roundups under Trump, most recently with a January 2018 sweep of nearly 100 7-11 convenience stores across the country. Several months before that, the agency arrested almost 500 people in a nationwide sweep that specifically targeted sanctuary cities.
Regardless of the Post’s conspicuous omission of these large scale anti-immigrant actions, the ultimate conclusion is clear: Under Trump, undocumented immigrants who have committed no crime during their time in the United States are still the targets of an agency that insists on hiding behind the laughably phony justification of “public safety.”