Putting TRAC to Work
  News Organizations
Think Progress
September 9, 2015

More Proof That Immigrants Aren’t All Criminals
By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee

Even as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sec. Jeh Johnson has pledged to focus on undocumented immigrants who pose a “demonstrable risk to national security,” a new report shows that federal immigration officials continue to detain people with no criminal record at all. At least two-thirds of targets detained in April by local or state police departments on behalf of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency “had no criminal conviction of any type,” according to the Syracuse University research organization’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) report. Detainers, known as “immigration holds,” are used by federal immigration officials to ask local and state law enforcement agencies to hold suspected immigrants in their facilities until ICE agents can come pick them up for potential deportation proceedings. The ICE agency issued 7,993 detainers this April, the TRAC report stated. Only 32 percent of those individuals had been convicted of a crime and just 19 percent had a felony conviction. Since the majority of targets lacked criminal convictions, the data in the new report seems to challenge Johnson’s pledge that ICE would go after individuals who have been “convicted of specifically enumerated crimes” — in other words, serious crimes. The statistics come even after ICE requested local and state law enforcement departments to detain 30 percent fewer individuals in April 2015 than the agency did in October 2014, a month before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) disbanded a controversial federal immigration collaborative program used to target criminal immigrants through local police departments.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2015
TRAC TRAC at Work TRAC TRAC at Work News Organizations News Organizations