ICE: Just the facts ma'am

May 8, 2017

Photo by Charles Reed/AP  

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Advocates are blaming recent raids on Trump's call for stronger deportation enforcement; ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) spokespersons say that the raids are business as usual.  With so much conflicting information nine researchers with RiseUpCalifornia research team delved into the issue of ICE raids compared to past sweeps looking for evidence of business as usual vs.changes resulting from Trumps promise to remove immigrants.  

 

—Research and reporting by Hope Boyer, legal assistant with the Immigration Law Offices of Hadley Bajramovic PC

 

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) archives, in Fiscal Year 2014 (October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014)1 ICE made a total of 315,943 removals or returns. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted another 577,295 removals and returns (414,481 removals and 162,814 returns). U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) made another 486,651 apprehensions, nearly all of which were along the southwest border. 

 

Of ICE’s 315,943 removals and returns, 85% were of convicted criminals. 98% of the total removals and returns met at least one of ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities. In 2011, ICE’s civil enforcement priorities2 included the following: 

 

 

Priority 1: Aliens who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety 

  •  Those engaged in or suspected of terrorism 

  •  Convicted of crimes, with emphasis on violent criminals, felons and repeat offenders 

  •  16 years or older who participated in organized criminal gang activity 

  •  Subject to outstanding criminal warrants 

  •  Those who “otherwise pose a serious risk to public safety.” 

 

Priority 2: Recent illegal entrants 

  •  “In order to maintain control at the border and at ports of entry, and to avoid a return to the prior practice commonly and historically referred to as "catch and release," the removal of aliens who have recently violated immigration controls at the border, at ports of entry, or through the knowing abuse of the visa and visa waiver programs shall be a priority.” 

 

Priority 3: Aliens who are fugitives or otherwise obstruct immigration controls 

  •  Fugitives convicted of violent crimes or pose a danger to national security 

  •  Fugitives convicted of a non-violent crime or who have not been convicted of a crime 

  •  Individuals who re-enter the country illegally after removal 

  •  Immigrants who obtain admission or status through fraudulent activity 

 

Of ICE’s total removals in FY 2014, 213,719 of their removals and returns occurred while or shortly after the individuals were attempting to illegally enter the United States. The remaining 102,224 were apprehended in the interior of the United States. 

 

There were a total of 235,413 removals during Fiscal Year 2015 (October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015).3 96,045 of those removals were non-criminal immigration violators, and the other 139,368 (59%) were convicted criminals. Of the total removals conducted for FY 2015, 69,478 were interior removals – 91% of these interior removals were previously convicted of a crime. The other 165,935 removals were apprehended at or near the border or ports of entry. 

 

These removals were conducted based on the November 20, 2014 Department of Homeland Security memorandum, Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum4 the priorities of which are outlined below: 

 

Priority 1: Threats to national security, border security, and public safety 

  •  Individuals suspected of terrorism 

  •  Attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. at the border or ports of entry 

  •  Conviction of an offense related to criminal gang activity 

  •  Felony convictions or aggravated felony convictions 

 

Priority 2: Misdemeanants and new immigration violators 

  •  Convictions of 3 or more misdemeanor offenses (other than minor traffic offenses) 

  •  Conviction of a “significant misdemeanor” 

  •  Individuals apprehended anywhere in the U.S. after unlawfully entering (or re-entering) the U.S. who cannot prove that they have been physically present in the U.S. continuously since January 1, 2014 

  •  Those who “in the judgement of an ICE Field Office Director, USCIS District Director, or USCIS Service Center Director, have significantly abused the visa or visa waiver programs.” 

 

Priority 3: Other immigration violations 

  •  “Those who have been issued a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014 […] Priority 3 aliens should generally be removed unless they qualify for asylum or another form of relief under our laws or, unless, in the judgment of an immigration officer, the alien is not a threat to the integrity of the immigration system or there are factors suggesting the alien should not be an enforcement priority.” 

 

 

 

For FY 2016 (October 1, 2015 to September 30 2016)5 Ice conducted a total of 240,255 removals; 65,332 of those removals were interior removals, 92% of which were previously convicted of a crime. 174,923 removals of individuals in FY 2016 occurred at or near the border or ports of entry. 58% of all ICE removals for FY 2016 were previously convicted of a crime. 99.3% of all ICE FY 2016 removals met at least one of ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities, as defined in the March 2011 ICE Memorandum: Civil Immigration Enforcement: Priorities for the Apprehension Detention, and Removal of Aliens6. 

 

 

 

 

On February 13, 2017, DHS Secretary Kelly released a statement7 regarding recent ICE operations, describing them as targeting public safety threats. According to his statement, 75% of these recent arrests were immigrants with a criminal background. These arrests include: 190 arrested in Georgia, 235 arrested throughout 6 Midwestern states, 161 arrested in Los Angeles, 41 arrested in New York, and 51 arrested in San Antonio. 

 

Secretary Kelly’s statement includes a Fact Sheet on ICE Fugitive Enforcement Operations.8 This Fact Sheet cites “National Fugitive Enforcement Operations” dating from 2017 to 2011. These operations include the recent February 2017 operation which began February 6th, during which 680 arrests were made of immigrants who have a criminal background or met at least one of ICE’s immigration enforcement priorities. Similar operations took place in March 2015, during which 2,059 arrests were made nationwide, August 2013, during which 1,660 arrests were made (1,517 of whom were convicted criminals). In April 2012 another 3,100 arrests took place, in September 2011 another operation resulted 

in 2,900 arrests of convicted criminal immigrants, and lastly, an operation in June 2011 resulted in 2,400 arrests nationwide. 

 

In addition to National Fugitive Enforcement Operations, the report cites Local Fugitive Enforcement Operations, which are conducted on a yearly basis. The most recent of these instances includes January

2017, resulting in the arrest of 16 convicted criminal immigrants in Milwaukee, and December 2016, resulting in 74 arrests in Michigan and Ohio. The largest of these operations took place in June 2014, when 297 arrests were made in Chicago and 6 Midwestern states. 

 

 

1 DHS Releases end of Year Statistics, December 18, 2014 (https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/dhs-releases-end-year-statistics). 

2 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton to all ICE employees, Office of the Director, March 2, 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/releases/2011/ 

110302washingtondc.pdf) 

3 FY 2015 ICE Immigration Removals (https://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics/2015#_ftn3). 

Of ICE’s 315,943 removals and returns, 85% were of convicted criminals. 98% of the total removals and returns met at least one of ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities. In 2011, ICE’s civil enforcement priorities2 included the following: 

Priority 1: Aliens who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety 

4 DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to Thomas S. Winkowski (ICE), R. Gil Kerlikowske (CBP), Leon Rodriguez (USCIS), Alan Bersin, November 20, 2014, Department of Homeland Security, Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants (https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/14_1120_memo_ 

prosecutorial_discretion.pdf). 

5 FY 2016 ICE Immigration Removals (https://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics/2016#_ftnref4). 

6 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton to all ICE employees, Office of the Director, March 2, 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/releases/2011/110302washingtondc.pdf). 

7 DHS Secretary Kelly, February 13, 2017, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/statement-secretary-kelly-recent-ice-enforcement-actions). 

8 Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, February 13, 2017, Fact Sheet: ICE Fugitive Enforcement Operations (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/library/factsheets/pdf/factsheet-fugops.pdf). 

 

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