Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are arresting about 400 people a day, a major spike indicating that President Donald Trump is making good on his hardline immigration policies.
In the three months he has been in office, ICE apprehended 41,318 immigrants, up 37.6 percent over the same period last year, according to new figures the agency released on Wednesday.
“These statistics reflect President Trump’s commitment to enforce our immigration laws fairly and across the board,” Thomas Homan, the acting director of ICE, told The New York Times.
However, unlike former President Barack Obama, who prioritized arrests of the most serious criminals, there has been a major spike in jailed non-criminals. In fact, more than half of the growth in arrests was of immigrants whose only crime was living in the country illegally.
The mass raids, arrests during routine check-ins and apprehensions at courthouses have sparked an increasing level of fear in undocumented communities that local law enforcement worry is discouraging them from reporting crimes or seeking help, particularly around sexual assaults and domestic violence.
“What it tells me is that the department is willing to put enforcement numbers ahead of any kind of strategy that would actually try to keep us all safer going forward,” said Omar Jadwat, the director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.
The spike in arrests indicates that while Trump's larger immigration agenda, like his border wall and travel ban, have been stalled, its street-level aspects are booming.