Anecdotal reports have swirled since February about undocumented immigrants being targeted for arrest even absent a criminal record. For example, an Ecuadorean high schooler was detained by ICE agents who showed up at his home in upstate New York hours before his senior prom in June. Three restaurant workers were arrested in May in Michigan after ICE agents ate breakfast where they worked. A Salvadoran man is facing deportation in Houston after voluntarily showing up to an ICE office for a routine check-in. Reports of this nature continue to mount.
The Trump administration has claimed that its priority was in locating criminal aliens and deporting immigrants who posed a public safety threat. Yet, an internal memo obtained by ProPublica, drafted just a month after the inauguration, confirms otherwise. The memo, distributed to 5700 ICE agents, directs action against all undocumented immigrants that agents encounter, regardless of criminal histories. The directive also instructs agents to consider release and parole only sparingly.
Sources report that between February and May, the Trump administration arrested, on average, 108 undocumented immigrants a day with no criminal record. This represents an uptick of some 150 percent from the same time period a year ago.
Arrests are expected to continue under the new policy.