ICE Data Shows Half of Immigrants Arrested in Raids Had Traffic Convictions or no Record.
ICE Data Shows Half of Immigrants Arrested in Raids Had Traffic Convictions or no Record. About half of the 675 immigrants picked up in roundups across the United States in the days after President Trump took office either had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offenses, mostly drunken driving, as their most serious crimes, according to data obtained by The Washington Post.
Records provided by congressional aides Friday offered the most detailed look yet at the backgrounds of the individuals rounded up and targeted for deportation in early February by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assigned to regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York.
Two people had been convicted of homicide, 80 had been convicted of assault, and 57 had convictions for "dangerous drugs.” Many of the most serious criminals were given top billing in ICE news statements about the operation.
The largest single group — 163 immigrants convicted of traffic offenses — was mentioned only briefly. Over 90 percent of those cases involved drunken driving, ICE said Friday. Of those taken into custody in the raids, 177 had no criminal convictions at all, though 66 had charges pending, largely immigration or traffic offenses.
The raids were part of a nationwide immigration roundup dubbed Operation Cross Check, which accounts for a small portion of the 21,362 immigrants the Trump administration took into custody for deportation proceedings from January through mid-March.
Trump has said that public safety threats are his top priority. Shortly after he was elected, he vowed to first deport serious criminals from the United States.
But critics say immigration agents instead have also targeted students, parents of U.S. citizens who do not have serious criminal records and minor offenders.
"That makes me so angry,” said Kica Matos, a spokeswoman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, which is organizing demonstrations Monday to protest Trump’s immigration policies. She said that many of the DUI convictions are years-old and that the data "confirms our worst fears, which is that this administration is really trying to deport as many as possible regardless of whether they have a criminal record.”
President Barack Obama also deported thousands of people who never committed crimes, but toward the end of his administration, he imposed strict new rules that prioritized the arrest of criminals.
The Trump administration has said the current president also wants to prioritize deporting criminals. But officials add that anyone in the United States illegally could be detained and deported.
"As Secretary Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” said ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea, referring to Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. "All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
ICE arrested immigrants across the United States in February as part of Operation Cross Check, an initiative that seeks to detain immigrants that also occurred during the Obama administration.