WASHINGTON — Arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents increased 30 percent from 2016 to 2017 after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to step up enforcement.
The number of ICE arrests had declined by more than half from 297,898 in 2009 (the year President Barack Obama came into office) to 143,470 in 2017 (when Trump took office).
Arrests for those without prior convictions drove the increase, according to a Pew Research analysis of ICE data. The number of arrestees without known convictions increased 146 percent (up more than 22,000 arrests), compared with a 12 percent rise among those with past criminal convictions (up nearly 11,000). Overall, 74 percent of those arrested in 2016 and 2017 had prior convictions, most commonly driving under the influence of alcohol (16 percent), followed by possessing or selling “dangerous drugs” such as opioids (15 percent). Immigration offenses, which include illegal entry or false claim to U.S. citizenship, were the third-most common crime type (14 percent). (TAB)