Federal immigration agents under President Donald Trump have set a new record for arrests of undocumented immigrants who don’t have a criminal record, according to data released Thursday.
Under President Barack Obama, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents focused their efforts on arresting undocumented immigrants who had been convicted of crimes while living in the U.S. During Obama’s final month in office, 82 percent of people arrested by ICE had a criminal record, meaning just 18 percent of all arrests were of people who were simply undocumented and had committed no other crimes.
Trump campaigned on a promise to target “bad hombres” – including murderers, violent criminals and gang members – but after assuming office he ordered ICE to arrest all undocumented immigrants it encountered, no matter their criminal background. That has led to a consistent drop in the percentage of people arrested by ICE who have a criminal record.
According to data released Thursday, that percentage fell to 63.5 percent in December, the lowest monthly figure since ICE started categorizing arrests in 2012. That means 36.5 percent of the arrests were simply undocumented with no criminal history.