February 16, 2018

Some 90% of all illegal aliens arrested last year had criminal convictions on their records or criminal charges pending against them, according to a new analysis of data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement done by the Pew Research Center.

"Immigrants with past criminal convictions accounted for 74% of all arrests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in fiscal 2017, according to data from the agency. The remainder were classified as 'non-criminal' arrestees, including 16% with pending criminal charges and 11% with no known criminal convictions or charges," Pew said.

So, President Trump is doing just what he said he'd do: arrest illegal aliens with criminal records.

In fact, it was former President Barack Obama who didn't do that. "The profile of ICE arrestees has changed considerably in the past eight years: In fiscal 2009, the earliest year with comparable data, immigrants without past criminal convictions accounted for the majority (61%) of those arrested by the agency," Pew wrote.

Overall, the number of ICE arrests decreased sharply during that span, from 297,898 in 2009 (the year President Barack Obama came into office) to 143,470 in 2017 (when President Donald Trump took office). However, last year’s total represented a 30% increase from the year before, with most of the increase coming after Trump signed an executive order to step up enforcement. ...

Among ICE arrestees in 2017 with prior convictions, the most common criminal conviction category was driving under the influence of alcohol (59,985 convictions, or 16% of the total), followed by possessing or selling “dangerous drugs” such as opioids (57,438, or 15%). Immigration offenses, which include illegal entry or false claim to U.S. citizenship, were the third-most common crime type (52,128 convictions, or 14%). Those arrested can have more than one type of conviction or pending charge so the total number of charges and convictions is greater than the total number of arrestees; ICE counts an immigrant with a prior criminal conviction and pending criminal charges only in the criminal conviction category.

In the report, titled "Most immigrants arrested by ICE have prior criminal convictions, a big change from 2009," Pew said "Assault ranked among the five most common pending criminal charges and conviction categories for ICE arrestees in 2017, accounting for 11% and 8% respectively. Other violent crime categories were much less common. Sexual assault, kidnapping and homicide each made up 1% or fewer of both pending charges and prior convictions."

In 2017, nearly nine-in-ten ICE arrests in the Los Angeles area (88%), which covers much of Southern California, were of those with past criminal convictions. This was the highest share of any ICE area of responsibility. In all ICE areas, considerable majorities of arrests were for those with prior convictions; the Newark area (which covers all of New Jersey) was lowest, with 60% criminal arrests.