After taking office, President Donald Trump pledged to take on immigration across the country.
The less detailed classification of immigrants who are deported and arrested by ICE makes it hard to compare the types of people ICE is targeting under Trump versus under Obama, but Tuesday's ICE statistics on immigration arrests indicate that the agency is casting a wider net than it has in recent years.
"Trump's wall and more agents are risky, wasteful proposals that would be catastrophic for border communities".
Deportations overall were down during the 2017 fiscal year, most of which was under Trump's presidency, from the previous year, in part because fewer people were caught illegally crossing the U.S. -Mexico border.
ICE's announcement it had arrested a record number of MS-13 gang members this year might not be telling the full story, experts say.
Officials have credited that drop to Trump's harsh anti-immigration rhetoric and policies, including widely publicised arrests of immigrants living in the USA illegally.
"We would warn people to be extremely cautious of that because what we have seen at the local level is that this has become a witch-hunt which I think as a country we will become to be ashamed of", he told Newsweek. There are now "consequences and deterrence" for people who break laws.
"You've really had a realignment in migration from Mexico", she said, noting that the numbers of Mexicans apprehended in 2017 fell by 34 per cent from the previous year. While the 25% decline of border apprehensions demonstrates a significant decline in illegal border crossings resulting from the administration's immigration policies, the data still emphasizes the continued need for increased border security and the expansion of the physical barriers along the southern border.
"We've seen young people wearing a t-shirt that other young people are wearing and because they happen to be an immigrant or Central American, that has been used as evidence against them", Barrientos added.
The numbers, released by the Department of Homeland Security, reflected a stunning turnaround from the almost nonexistent interior enforcement of immigration laws under President Obama.
"However, as ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement". Those who are not facing criminal convictions will be processed for deportation.
Trump campaigned as an immigration hard-liner, accusing Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to the U.S. and promising to build "a great wall on our southern border".
Five have previously been deported and may now face federal prosecution.
Trump also promised to hire an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents to bolster border security.
The numbers are evidence of the success agents have had following new policies implemented by the Trump administration. But officials insisted the wall was still needed. "That's a good thing", said Ronald Vitiello, the acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.
The problem has gotten so bad that people are afraid to leave their homes or have left Long Island completely out of fear of arrest, Barrientos said. ICE noted that it issued 65 percent more detainers this year as compared to last year, but also received a record number of declined detainers from law enforcement agencies. ICE states that the "vast majority" of administrative arrests were of convicted criminals or of people with criminal charges, and that only 11 percent of people arrested had no known criminal convictions or charges.
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