Deportation Drop Tells The Real Story Of Criminal Immigrant Rates In The US

haiti-deportations
Healthcare workers watch as Haitians who were deported from the United States step off a plane at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince. (Photo by PIERRE MICHEL JEAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Sat. Mar. 19, 2022: Who remembers the Trump lie about undocumented immigrants killing more Americans than native-born Americans? New data released from the Joe Biden administration is proving this as the Trumpian lie of the century.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (US ICE) data released on March 11th, deportation under the Biden administration has reached an all-time low.

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Why? Primarily because the agency is focusing more on detaining immigrants convicted of serious crimes, and they are not as many as Trumpeto, Stephen Miller, former Texas state Treasurer Josh Mandel and their right-wing followers consistently claim.

In fact, ICE deported 59,011 deportations in fiscal year 2021, an all-time low for deportations period. The previous low came in fiscal year 2004, when ICE recorded 175,106 deportations.

“We are focusing on what we consider quality arrests, sort of the ones that are the most severe threats to our communities,” a senior ICE official said during a recent call with reporters.

And it is reflected in the data, despite malicious claims from Trump and his followers.

ICE arrests of immigrants convicted of “aggravated felonies” were 12,025 in 2021. “Aggravated felonies” are defined as a serious, violent offenses like murder and rape, as well as other crimes that are deemed misdemeanors in some states.

Sixty-six percent of the 59,000 immigrants deported this past fiscal year had criminal records, an increase from 56 percent in 2020, ICE said. The rest were primarily migrants transferred from border custody. The agency said it also deported 2,718 alleged gang members and 34 suspected terrorists.

Of the immigrants arrested by ICE in fiscal year 2021, 1,506 were convicted of homicide-related offenses, 3,415 sexual assaults, 19,549 assaults, 2,717 robberies and 1,063 kidnappings, the agency said in the report.

Nearly 500 of those arrests occurred during an operation last year targeting sex offenders, 80% of whom had been convicted of crimes involving the victimization of children, the ICE report noted.

However, the agency is currently holding another 18,000 immigrants in detention.

The drop in deportation data as ICE goes after the criminal elements they should and get them out of the country supports all the data, including by Michael T. Light, a University of Wisconsin criminologist, has found that undocumented immigrants are less than half as likely to be arrested for violent crimes or drug offenses compared to native-born Americans.

The data found that between 2012 and 2018, U.S.-born people were twice as likely as the undocumented to be arrested for violent crime in Texas alone, and two-and-a-half times as likely to be arrested for drug crimes.

It has been a myth promoted by the far right and far from empirical realities. The new ICE numbers prove that. Now its time for the Biden administration to move again towards addressing a path of legalization for the many non-criminal undocumented immigrants in the U.S., who are doing right by the country and their communities daily.

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News.