According to a new analysis just released by the Pew Research Center on Thursday, a whopping 74 percent of all illegal alien arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in fiscal year 2017 have criminal convictions.
Of the remainder, although classified as “non-criminal” arrestees, 16 percent do have pending criminal charges, and only 11 percent of all illegal aliens arrested by ICE have no known criminal convictions or charges.
Among the 2017 arrests, Pew said the most common criminal conviction category was driving under the influence of alcohol, a stunning 59,985 convictions, or 16 percent of the total. Possessing or selling dangerous drugs was next, at 57,438 arrests, or 15 percent.
The profile of ICE arrestees has changed considerably in the past eight years: In fiscal 2009, the earliest year with comparable data, immigrants without past criminal convictions accounted for the majority (61%) of those arrested by the agency.
Overall, the number of ICE arrests decreased sharply during that span, from 297,898 in 2009 (the year President Barack Obama came into office) to 143,470 in 2017 (when President Donald Trump took office). However, last year’s total represented a 30% increase from the year before, with most of the increase coming after Trump signed an executive order to step up enforcement.
While ICE arrests overall rose from 2016 to 2017, arrests for those without prior convictions drove the increase. The number of arrestees without known convictions increased 146% (up more than 22,000 arrests), compared with a 12% rise among those with past criminal convictions (up nearly 11,000). Still, the bulk of those arrested in 2016 and 2017 had prior convictions.
ICE arrest patterns vary by region
The share of criminal and non-criminal ICE arrests varies by geography, which the agency reports by “area of responsibility.” While these areas are named for field offices in major cities, they can encompass large swaths of the U.S., with some covering four or more states.
In 2017, nearly nine-in-ten ICE arrests in the Los Angeles area (88%), which covers much of Southern California, were of those with past criminal convictions. This was the highest share of any ICE area of responsibility. In all ICE areas, considerable majorities of arrests were for those with prior convictions; the Newark area (which covers all of New Jersey) was lowest, with 60% criminal arrests.
Yet non-criminal arrests increased at much faster rates than criminal arrests did in all 24 areas of responsibility between 2016 and 2017; in a few areas, criminal arrests even decreased slightly. In the Dallas region – which had the most overall arrests last year (16,520) – non-criminal arrests rose 156%, while criminal arrests went up 61%. The difference was even bigger in the Houston enforcement region, which had the second-highest overall number of arrests (13,565): Non-criminal arrests rose 174%, while criminal arrests fell by 6%. In half of the ICE areas, non-criminal arrests rose 200% or more.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
February 16th, 2018