Where ICE Secure Communities Removals Now Occur
Fingerprints submitted to the FBI by law enforcement agencies from just two states—Texas and California—gave rise to almost half (47%) of all recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removals under its Secure Communities program. This is a much larger proportion than where ICE arrests are found. Just 39 percent of ICE arrests occurred in these two states.
Local, state, and federal agencies usually submit fingerprint records to the FBI when individuals are arrested and taken into custody, or after an individual is convicted and they begin serving their sentence. The latest case-by-case data, current through June 2018, reveal that Texas saw an average of nearly two thousand removals (1,975) each month from ICE's matching immigrant records with these fingerprints submitted to the FBI. California had just above one thousand (1,087) monthly removals through the Secure Communities program.
Nine out of ten counties in the United States with the most Secure Communities removals were also in Texas and California. These counties are shown in Figure 1. On top is the county of El Paso, Texas. Third and fifth spots are also Texas counties: Harris (the most populous county in Texas where Houston is located) and Howard (where Big Spring Correctional Center, a privately operated prison, is located). Dallas County and the border county of Hidalgo in Texas also made the top ten.
Figure 1. Top Ten Counties with Most ICE Secure Communities Removals,
FY 2018 (through June)
(Click for larger image)
Four California counties also occupied top spots. These four were: Orange County, California with the fourth highest monthly removals in the nation, followed by Los Angeles County (6th place), Imperial County along the southwest border (9th place), and Kern County in California's Central Valley. San Diego County came in eleventh place, and just missed being in the top ten.
Only one other state, Arizona, had a county that made the top ten. This was Maricopa County where Phoenix is located. It ranked in second place in the nation for the most Secure Communities removals.
ICE Secure Communities Removals Compared With Where ICE Arrests Occur
It would seem logical that communities where ICE arrests concentrate would also be those where the individuals who were deported come from. But, of course, not everyone arrested is found to be deportable, and not all ICE removals are through its Secure Communities program. Complicating comparisons, the location of law enforcement agencies submitting fingerprint records may differ from the location of the actual ICE arrests. Nonetheless, differences between these two sets of data are puzzling. Only ICE has the information that would help answer why these differences occur. Unfortunately, it has steadfastly refused to release information that would allow the public to match up ICE arrests with its removals.
What users now can easily do—based on TRAC's research—is compare ICE arrests in their locale with the relative number of ICE Secure Communities removals reported by ICE for their state or county.
Detailed data on ICE arrests are available, updated through May 2018, through TRAC's free user web query tool. This can then be compared to the comparable state and county monthly details on removals through a second app covering deportations under ICE's Secure Communities program, now updated through June 2018.
For example, comparing lists of state rankings on these two indicators turns up a number of surprising differences. See Table 1. Three states that made the top 10 on ICE interior arrests - Pennsylvania (7th on arrests), New Jersey (9th on arrests), and Oklahoma (10th on arrests) placed much lower in the rankings for Secure Communities removals. At the same time, South Carolina, Colorado, and Illinois place much higher on Secure Communities removals, than they do on ICE arrests.
 These so-called "interior arrests" exclude cases where ICE assumed custody of individuals who the Border Patrol had arrested.
 For removals that take place outside the Secure Communities program ICE continues to allege that it does not track where the arrest occurred. Thus, the only information that ICE has released covering all its removals is the port of entry that individuals were deported from. TRAC has compiled this information and made it available on its ICE removals app