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18 April 2017, 02:03 | Dan Bryan
A protest march through downtown Dallas this month against what organisers say is an aggressive deportation policy
The Washington Post reported Sunday that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 21,362 immigrants from January to mid-March, up 32.6 percent from the same time previous year. For the same time period a year ago, 319 people with criminal records had been arrested.
Immigration advocates say that a culture of fear created by expanded agent powers has had an impact on how immigrants report crimes committed against them as well, noting a decrease in the number of reports of sexual assault and other crimes in cities with large immigrant communities like Los Angeles and Houston. Atlanta arrested the most immigrants without criminal records, while Philadelphia saw the biggest year-over-year increase in the number of noncriminal immigrants arrested.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 21,362 immigrants, most of whom are convicted criminals, between January 20 and March 13, according to statistics obtained by The Washington Post.
ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez says the category of "non-criminal" alien refers to individuals without separate criminal convictions, including illegal immigrants who've re-entered the US after being deported but who have not yet been convicted of that offense. "However, as [Homeland Security] Secretary [John F.] Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement". "‶The federal government, in really just a couple of months, has undone decades of work that we have done to build this trust".
In the first six years of the Obama administration, the former president was accused by liberals of deporting undocumented immigrants too aggressively, but Obama sought to show he was enforcing immigration laws as he and lawmakers pursued a comprehensive immigration reform deal in Congress.
Opponents of Trump's aggressive immigration push have argued that his policies have created harmful fear in immigrant communities, where many individuals have United States citizen family members and have lived and worked peacefully in the USA for years.
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