Immigration officials arrested more people in their Northern California jurisdiction in June than in any other month this year, according to data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The data also reveal that since President Trump took office, ICE officers have arrested nearly 54,700 people nationally who were known to be, or suspected of being, in the country illegally from January through June. That’s 37 percent more arrests than in the same period last year.
Trump made tougher immigration enforcement a priority of his campaign. Just a few days after being sworn in as president he issued an executive order, expanding deportation priorities to include people charged with crimes and those considered suspect by immigration officers.
In a previous statement about the increase in arrests, Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said: “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. However, when we encounter others who are in the country unlawfully, we will execute our sworn duty and enforce the law.”
The number of ICE arrests nationally of immigrants with no criminal history has more than doubled under Trump. About 11,700 more people with no criminal history have been arrested from January through June than during the same time period last year. People who have been previously deported are counted in the data as having a criminal history.
That confirms what local immigration attorneys say they’ve seen. Attorney Jackie Gonzalez, with Centro Legal de la Raza, said she’s seen more people with no criminal history and no prior deportations locked up.
“There’s a strong directive to really arrest not just people with a criminal background or a complicated immigration history, but just anybody that they encounter,” she said.
For instance, ICE recently arrested two men in Hayward who happened to be near the apartment of the agents’ original target.
Earlier this year, from January through April, there was a slight decline in arrests by immigration officials in the territory covered by the Northern California field office, which also includes Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. But that trend was reversed in May and June. Also, compared to the first six months of 2016, data show that arrests in that region have jumped about 10 percent in the same period this year.