About the Data - ICE Removals under Secure Communities

Overview. Details on the subset of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removals which used the interconnection between FBI and DHS databases to identify noncitizens ICE sought to deport through matching fingerprint records submitted to the FBI by law enforcement and other sources with DHS records on noncitizens. While this program is commonly referred to as Secure Communities, the records also cover the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) used during the November 2014 - January 2017 period since identical fingerprint matching procedures continued unchanged under both programs.

These data have been compiled from case-by-case records obtained from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These records include the state and county where the fingerprint record was originally submitted. This allows the resulting removal to be linked back to the specific geographic location where the noncitizen was apprehended. These records were obtained after successful court litigation by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

The automatic sharing of FBI fingerprint records with ICE began late in 2008 and took some time before it was extended to include all counties in the United States. This program has never accounted for a majority of ICE removals. You should use an entirely separate web query tool for access to information on all ICE removals.

Note that ICE now withholds many important information fields it provided TRAC in the past. (TRAC has taken ICE to court [1] to challenge this withholding which we believe is unlawful.)

The Secure Communities data tool contains individual records on each recorded ICE deportation under this program. These include expedited removals, regular removals, reinstatement of previous removal orders after the individual has re-entered the U.S., voluntary departures and returns. According to ICE records, the Secure Communities deportations contain a small number of deportations resulting from apprehensions at ports of entry and by the Border Patrol where fingerprint matching was used and custody of the individual was transferred to ICE. This occurs when the process of deportation is not fairly immediate, since CBP only has temporary holding facilities and the individual must be transferred to ICE to house in longer term detention facilities that only ICE manages.

For each individual ICE deports, information on the city and state the fingerprint record was originally submitted from, the nature of the immigration violation giving rise to their deportation, the type of agency and program that led to their apprehension (including whether use of a detainer was involved and whether the arrest occurred at the border or in the interior of the country), the year the individual had last entered the United States and their entry status at that time. In addition to demographic information, detailed criminal histories for each individual are available. Findings reported are based on TRAC's detailed analysis of these case-by-case ICE records.

Coverage. The ICE data cover each recorded ICE deportation from the start of the Secure Communities program in 2008 through the most recent month available. Updated data are requested each month from ICE through a new FOIA request submitted by TRAC. Data in the tool are then updated after ICE releases the information in response to these requests and updated data analyses are completed by TRAC. The most recently available coverage date is recorded at the top of the data tool.

Using the Data Tool: Dimensions and Definitions

Filtering the data using the three data tables. Select a different factor or dimension to display in each of the three tables. The tables are inter-connected so that the data filter from left to right. After selecting a factor to display in the left most table, select a particular row category to drill in on by clicking on that row's label in the left-most table. The middle table will then display the details for that particular selection from the left table on the dimension you had chosen to display for the middle table. In other words, if you click on a category in the left table it displays only cases within that class in the middle table. Click on a category in the middle table to display only cases within that selection in the right table. To help you keep track, your selection is displayed at the top of the table to the right.

Sorting the tabular data displayed. By clicking on the column headings in a table, you can sort the tabular data displayed. Clicking on the table column heading for the name of the dimension, sorts each tabular row in alphabetical order. Clicking a second time, sorts in reverse alphabetical order. Clicking on the column heading "Total" reverses the default sort order of largest to smallest to display from the smallest to the largest value.

Selecting what is displayed in the time series graph. The data in the graph updates to reflect the category in the table you selected when clicking on its row label. The title shown above the graph indicates the selection criteria you have chosen. Mouse-over any bar in the graph to view the value being plotted.

There are also two additional controls you can use to change what the graph displays.

  • Monthly versus FY toggle. By default, the time series graph displays data for each month. To instead display bars for each fiscal year, choose the "by Fiscal Year" option to the left of the graph.

  • Number/percent toggle. By default, the number of cases is displayed in the graph. To instead display the value as a percent of the total for your current selection, choose the "Percent" option to the right of the graph. (Note: 100 percent will be displayed if the total ("All") was the category you have currently selected.)

Data dimensions. To change the set of categories displayed in a table, select a different factor or dimension from the pull-down menu above each table. The following factors can be selected:

  • Fiscal Year Deported. This is always the fiscal year when ICE deported the individual. The federal government's fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. So, for example, FY 2015 will return cases filed from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015.[2]

  • Month and Year Deported. This is the calendar month and year when the individual was deported by ICE.

  • State Where Apprehended. The state or territory that ICE recorded for where the original fingerprint record to the FBI was submitted from.

  • County Where Apprehended. The county that ICE recorded for where the original fingerprint record to the FBI was submitted from.

  • Previously Deported. Whether the individual had been previously deported from the U.S.

  • Current Deportation Type. The recorded type of deportation - expedited removal, regular removal, reinstatement of a prior removal, voluntary departure or voluntary return[3]. Among the types of removals, expedited removals are ordered by ICE without the review by any judge and bar the individual from re-entry for 5 years. Regular removals include both removals ordered by ICE as well as those ordered by an immigration judge[4]. Here an individual is barred from re- entry for 10 or 20 years, or sometimes for life. Administrative reinstatement of a prior removal order can occur if an individual has been previously removed and then re-enters the U.S. during the period re-entry is barred. A voluntary departure can be ordered by an immigration judge in place of a removal order. While the individual is required to leave the country, they are not legally barred from re- entry if they depart within the specified time period. Under administrative voluntary return procedures the individual departs without formally being ordered deported.

  • Border versus Interior. The category "border" indicates ICE records that the individual was apprehended by the Border Patrol (including at interior traffic and transportation points) or by a CBP inspection officer at a land, sea or airport when coming to the U.S. The category "interior" includes all other apprehensions.

  • Immigration Violation Deportation Based. The formal legal grounds on which the deportation was based under immigration statutes. There are a myriad of rules subjecting a person to deportation. These include simply being present in the country without valid documents, entry without inspection, controlled substance violations, willful misrepresentation of material facts, conviction of crimes involving moral turpitude, and many others.

  • Apprehension Method/Agency. Composite developed by TRAC from ICE records identifies when apprehension was part of its Criminal Alien Program (CAP) in cooperation with federal, state or local law enforcement agencies, involved its cooperative relationship with local law enforcement agencies under ICE's 287(g) program, or was an apprehension by the Border Patrol versus by a CBP inspection officer at a port of entry.

  • Detainer Used. Indicates prior to the individual being deported whether ICE issued an I- 247 form requesting federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies to turn the person over to ICE. Further information is available on ICE use of detainers in a parallel user tool tracking ICE's use of detainers.

  • Most Serious Criminal Conviction (MSCC). The recorded most serious offense the individual was convicted for. Offense categories utilize the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) coding system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Where there are multiple convictions, ICE identified the most serious offense. Note that ICE has improved it methods for recording criminal convictions so that data for earlier years may be less comprehensive.

  • Seriousness Level of MSCC Conviction. ICE classifies National Crime Information Center (NCIC) offense codes into three seriousness levels. The most serious (Level 1) covers what ICE considers to be "aggravated felonies." Level 2 offenses cover other felonies, while Level 3 offenses are misdemeanors, including petty and other minor violations of the law. TRAC uses ICE's "business rules" to group recorded NCIC offense codes into these three seriousness levels.

  • Calendar Year of Latest Entry into U.S. The date ICE records as the most recent entry of the individual into the U.S. This information is not recorded by ICE for a significant number of individuals.

  • Status at Latest Entry into U.S. The category ICE records the individual was placed when they most recently entered the country. Includes, for example, whether the individual was a legal permanent resident, a non-immigrant, an immigrant, a visitor, was seeking asylum (includes refugees), entered under the visa waiver program, was a parolee, or was present without admission. This information is not recorded by ICE for a significant number of individuals.

  • Age Group. The recorded age of the individual at the time he or she was deported by ICE.

  • Citizenship. The recorded citizenship of the individual.

  • Gender. The recorded gender of the individual.

For a listing of TRAC reports on other immigration enforcement topics, go here.

Additional TRAC Immigration Enforcement Data and Tools

To access additional data using other TRAC immigration enforcement tools, go to this directory of data tools.

[1] See Long and Burnham v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Civil Action 1:17-cv-01097 (USDC, DC) filed June 8, 2017.

[2] This is based on the actual deportation date ICE recorded unlike ICE annual statistics where there can be a lag in reporting. Further current ICE records don't always replicate counts published in ICE's historical statements.

[3] TRAC has found that ICE data is not entirely reliable in distinguishing among these different types of deportation, as different fields in the data TRAC received are sometimes in conflict as to the actual deportation category cases fell into.

[4] ICE contends they cannot identify which result from the order by a judge, and which are purely administrative. TRAC does not believe this is true since ICE attorneys are responsible for representing the government in each Immigration Court case and database records are kept on these cases that are linked in with its other enforcement records. TRAC has current FOIA litigation against ICE seeking broader information.