Sorry Guys, Trump’s Not Arresting Immigrants At Rate Obama Once Did

ICE arrests have spiked this year but still don't match Obama's record of rounding up immigrants before 2015

Apr 17, 2017 at 1:45 PM ET

Yes, immigration arrests rose sharply during President Trump’s first months in office compared to the same period during the last two years of the Obama administration, as the Washington Post reported Sunday night. But the new commander-in-chief could not match the pace of roundups set by his predecessor prior to 2015.

Under Trump, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 21,362 immigrants from January to mid-March, according to agency statistics provided to the Post. That’s a 32.6 percent increase from the 16,104 immigrants ICE arrested last year during the same period and roughly 15 percent more than the 18,031 detained in 2015. What’s more, the arrests of immigrants with no criminal records under Trump more than doubled from those tallied last year to 5,441.

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For immigrant communities and their supporters, such figures are the latest signs of an unbridled, indiscriminate approach toward immigration enforcement by a president who at one time vowed to expel all of the estimated 11 million undocumented residents living in the U.S. They also happen to fall behind the rate of immigration arrests made during most of President Obama’s tenure, as he oversaw the deportation of more undocumented immigrants than any other U.S. president in history.

It wasn’t until November 2014 — nearly three-fourths into his presidency — that Obama, who earned the nickname “Deporter-In-Chief” from immigrant rights groups, scaled back his administration’s immigration enforcement policy and began to prioritize convicted criminals for arrest and deportation. That year, ICE arrested 29,238 immigrants from January to mid-March — or 27 percent more than those detained under Trump. Of those, non-criminals accounted for 25 percent of all immigrant arrests, which is the exact same percentage of immigrants with no criminal record detained by the new administration.

Vocativ reached out to ICE on Monday to request immigration arrest statistics prior to 2014, the earliest year published by the Post. We will update our story if and when we hear back.