Mexico City (CNSNews.com) – U.S. immigration authorities made more than 41,000 arrests during President Trump’s first 100 days in office, a 34.5 percent increase over the same period in 2016.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests totaled 41,898 between Jan. 20 and April 29, 2017, compared to 31,128 over the same period a year ago, according to spokesperson Danielle Bennett.
Of the total number of those arrested in 2017, 30,964 were convicted criminals.
A report issued by ICE said offenses of those arrested ranged “from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges.”
“These statistics reflect President Trump’s commitment to enforce our immigration laws fairly and across the board,” ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan said in the report.
“ICE agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the arrest of convicted criminal aliens.”
“What a difference 100 days can make,” the Center for Immigration Studies commented in a posting praising the arrests.
The Trump administration “so far has done well,” the center said, noting plans by the administration to hire 10,000 new interior immigration enforcement agents.
Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the center, told CNSNews.com that sanctuary city policies “are hampering the arrests of deportable criminal aliens.”
“This phenomenon is generally confirmed in the recent arrest data released by ICE, which shows that ICE arrests in places like California, dropped off sharply after the state sanctuary policy (the Trust Act) was adopted,” Vaughan said in an email.
“The same data shows that many of the non-sanctuary jurisdictions saw a higher increase in ICE arrests under Trump policies than did areas with major sanctuaries.”
According to ICE, more arrests were made in Dallas (4,969) than any other city, followed by Atlanta (4,246) and Houston (4,040).
Dallas also led in arrests of convicted criminals (4,155) followed by Houston (3,344) and Atlanta (2,807).
The largest increase in arrests during Trump’s first 100 days compared to the same period in 2016 occurred in Dallas, which saw an increase of 2,383 arrests.
Arrests dropped in San Francisco from 2,006 in 2016 to 1,196 in the 2017 period.
Stepped up arrests by ICE have provoked “fear and anxiety” in the immigrant community in Portland, Maine, according to Sue Roche, executive director of the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project there.
The arrest by ICE agents of Abdi Ali, a Somali refugee and permanent resident of the U.S. inside a courthouse in Portland was “very troubling,” she said.
ICE agents arrested Ali, a 20-year resident of the U.S., in April while he was attending a court hearing to answer a drunk driving charge, according to the Bangor Daily News. It said documents handed to him by ICE agents cited a 2013 cocaine conviction, for which he had served five months’ imprisonment.
“We can’t have justice in our community if people don’t feel safe,” said Roche.
“If people are afraid to report crimes to police because they think they may be reported we can’t have safe communities.”
Roche noted that Maine faces a serious decrease in its workforce, and the local chamber of commerce has called the hiring of foreign workers “crucial.”
But if immigrants don’t feel safe in the community, she said, “they’re not going to want to move here or go through the immigration process.”
“We need comprehensive immigration reform that would improve the process and decrease the backlog. People are waiting three and four years for an immigration court hearing.”
According to figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection this week, more than 700,000 citizens of foreign countries who entered the U.S. last year at airports or at sea ports overstayed their visas.
The Department of Homeland Security suspects 628,799 of the visa overstays are still “in country.”
Students and “exchange visitors” not including citizens of Canada and Mexico, overstayed their visas at the highest rate (5.48 percent) for all categories of admissions to the U.S. analyzed in the report.
A total of 182,269 nonimmigrant visitors to the U.S. from Mexico and Canada in 2016 overstayed their visas.
The DHS is developing a biometric system for collecting data on travelers departing the U.S. and launched a test of facial biometric technology at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport last year.