In Trump's first 100 days in office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested 41,318 immigrants, over 75 percent of whom have criminal records. Non-criminal arrests rose from 28 last year to 134 this year.
During a press call with reporters Wednesday morning, acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said that between the inauguration and the end of April, the agency arrested more than 41,000 people.
Immigration officials pointed Wednesday to a steep jump in arrests during President Trump's first 100 days, citing recent captures in Texas and NY of reputed members of the notorious MS-13 street gang as examples of unsafe criminals detained since February.
Since Trump took office, about one-third of those picked up nationally by the agency's enforcement and removal operations do not have criminal records, according to ICE data. This, according to the release, is a 37.6 percent increase over a year ago at this time.
While almost 75 percent of those arrested were convicted criminals, arrests of noncriminal residents whose only crime was being undocumented have jumped 157 percent, from 4,600 between January and April last year to 10,800 arrests during the same period this year.
"These arrests rarely seem to be in the interest of public safety, but rather are tearing apart families, hurting small businesses, and heightening fears in communities that have previously thrived due to their immigrant populations", she said. Convicted criminal arrests increased about 20 percent from previous year, to 12,766.
This rise in the number of arrests among those with no criminal convictions marks a departure from Trump's campaign pledge to target undocumented migrants he branded serious criminals.
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement that the agency is now focusing on people with criminal records, to whom US President Donald Trump has described as "bad guys" during his presidential election campaign. He did not have the required immigration documents, according to ICE, so he was placed in the federal agency's custody at the Atlanta City Detention Center.
We believe the federal government should make immigration enforcement as transparent as criminal law enforcement. He was turned over to ICE on March 2 after his release from local law enforcement custody and was in deportation proceedings.
"The men and women of ICE are law enforcement officers sworn to enforce the law", Homan said.
Immigration arrests doubled in the Miami and Dallas metro areas. "If we don't take action on those orders, then we're just spinning our wheels, aren't we?"