Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti write:
A week after he won the election, President Trump promised that his administration would round up millions of immigrant gang members and drug dealers. And after he took office, arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers surged 40 percent.Trump is an asshole and a very dangerous statist. Old school conservatives and libertarians who support Trump are going to eventually regret it.
Officials at the agency commonly known as ICE praise Trump for putting teeth back into immigration enforcement, and they say their agency continues to prioritize national security threats and violent criminals, much as the Obama administration did.
But as ICE officers get wider latitude to determine whom they detain, the biggest jump in arrests has been of immigrants with no criminal convictions. The agency made 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests in the government’s 2017 fiscal year, more than twice the number in the previous year. The category includes suspects facing possible charges as well as those without criminal records.
Critics say ICE is increasingly grabbing at the lowest-hanging fruit of deportation-eligible immigrants to meet the president’s unrealistic goals, replacing a targeted system with a scattershot approach aimed at boosting the agency’s enforcement statistics...
A Virginia mother was sent back to El Salvador in June after her 11 years in the United States unraveled because of a traffic stop. A Connecticut man with an American-born wife and children and no criminal record was deported to Guatemala last week. And an immigration activist in New York, Ravi Ragbir, was detained in January in a case that brought ICE a scathing rebuke from a federal judge.
“It ought not to be — and it has never before been — that those who have lived without incident in this country for years are subjected to treatment we associate with regimes we revile as unjust,” said U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest, reading her opinion in court before ordering ICE to release Ragbir.
“We are not that country,” she said.
Immigrants whose only crime was living in the country illegally were largely left alone during the latter years of the Obama administration. But that policy has been scrapped.