Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have been busy lately. Federal immigration agents visited over 120 businesses over the last five days (Feb. 12 –16, 2018) looking to crack down on the hiring of undocumented workers. In 2017, ICE conducted a total of 1,300 of these workplace audits. In many cases, workers stop showing up to work fearing ICE would arrest them during these audits.
Employers face civil fines and criminal prosecution for employing undocumented workers. ICE expects a 300 percent increase in the amount of workplace audits in 2018.
ICE arrests large numbers in 2017
ICE arrests in 2017 increased 30 percent from 2016. Miami and Dallas had the largest increases in arrests for 2017, up 76 percent and 71 percent respectively. New Orleans had a 54 percent increase in arrests.
President Trump’s Immigration reform
President Trump signed an executive order shortly after taking office in January of 2017 that expanded enforcement of undocumented immigrants. His order didn’t narrow the focus of the enforcement efforts to those with criminal records. By contrast, President Obama prioritized the arrests of those convicted of serious crimes.
Most arrested immigrants had prior convictions
During 2017, immigrants with prior criminal convictions accounted for 74 percent of all ICE arrests according to the PEW Research Center. The top five most common prior convictions were:
- DUI traffic offenses
- Dangerous drugs (opioids)
- General traffic offenses
Non-criminal arrests also rose
In 2017, non-criminal arrests increased at faster rates than criminal arrests. In Dallas—which had the most overall arrests last year (16,520)—non-criminal arrests increased by 156 percent compared to criminal arrests rising by 61 percent. New Orleans non-criminal arrests went up 252 percent.
What happens when someone is arrested
In New Orleans, detainees are brought to the LaSalle ICE Processing Center. If you or a loved one is arrested and detained, an experienced immigration attorney can look at your case and determine possible legal avenues that may help.