Since the introduction of new, more stringent anti-immigration policies, arrests of undocumented immigrants across the country have increased by nearly 40 percent compared to the same period the year before. According to a report released by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), more than 41,000 people were arrested in the first 100 days after the President signed off on new immigration policies.
The largest increase in arrests during this period occurred among immigrants whose only offense was being undocumented. Non-criminal immigration arrests increased more than 150 percent over the previous year. The data seems to flout the administration’s promise that new immigration policies are designed to target “criminals” and protect “public safety.”
ICE Arrests of Non-Criminal Immigrants Hits Home
In New York and New Jersey, 2974 immigrants were arrested between the end of January and the end of May. In New York, one-quarter of those arrested had no criminal convictions. In New Jersey, 44 percent of arrested immigrants had no criminal record.
Experts theorize that New Jersey’s nearly doubling of non-criminal immigrant arrests from the previous year happened for a few reasons. Several New Jersey counties cooperate with ICE, allowing designated law enforcement officers to perform ICE duties within their local jails. New Jersey also requires police to notify ICE if they believe a suspect is an undocumented immigrant. ICE has also arrested many non-criminal undocumented immigrants as part of ongoing crackdowns aimed at area gangs.
Human Rights Concerns About ICE Arrests
In New Jersey and throughout the country, human rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) question the ICE agenda. An ACLU policy counsel says that fewer than 10 percent of ICE arrests were for violent crimes. Although the President vowed to remove only dangerous criminals, the majority of immigrants arrested have no records.
The numbers ICE releases seem to contradict other reports, with ICE numbers of immigrants arrested with criminal records being much higher than other sources. The reason for this discrepancy is that new immigration policies expanded the definition of “criminal” to include people facing charges but not convicted, and others never even charged with a crime.
Deputy Director of the Immigration Defense Project, Mizue Aizeki, feels these arrests are breaking up families, ruining businesses, and creating a climate of fear throughout the country. ICE officials insist they will continue to arrest, detain, and remove anyone in violation of immigration laws.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Support Pennsylvania’s Immigrants
Philadelphia immigration policies are more aggressive than ever before. The fact that ICE is targeting immigrants regardless of their criminal history is disheartening. Immigrants do have an ally in the Philadelphia immigration attorneys at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Our team of highly-experienced, caring immigration lawyers will do everything possible to protect you and your family. We will advise you on the best legal course of action for your situation.
Call 215-925-4435 or submit an online inquiry to schedule a consultation with a Philadelphia immigration lawyer today. Our offices are located in Center City, Philadelphia. We serve clients in and around Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County, including Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Darby, Wynnewood, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, Narberth, Folcroft, Cheltenham, Clifton Heights, Lansdowne, Glenolden, Drexel Hill, Elkins Park, Havertown, Norwood, Ardmore, Holmes, Essington, Wyncote, and Prospect Park.