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Is Concern About Deportation Overstated in the Media?

Posted on in Deportation

Darien immigration deportation attorneyIn 2017 and 2018, the U.S. news media focused a lot of attention on the deportation efforts of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But do the statistics actually support the idea that the average documented immigrant awaiting permanent resident or citizenship status should be seriously concerned about the possibility of being deported?

ICE Administrative Arrest Statistics for 2018

In fiscal year 2018 (the 12 months ending on October 8, 2018), ICE made 158,581 administrative arrests, meaning that the arrested individual had committed a civil violation of U.S. immigration laws. However, most of these individuals were not merely in violation of immigration laws; they were also guilty of criminal violations. 66% were convicted criminals, 21% had pending criminal charges, and 3% had previously issued final orders for deportation. Only 10% of these arrests involved people who had committed only a civil violation of immigration laws, such as overstaying a visa or entering the country illegally.

The total number of administrative arrests increased from 110,104 in 2016 to 158,581 in 2018, an increase of 44 percent over two years. The increase in arrests was heavily skewed toward the category of people who had pending criminal charges, indicating that ICE has stepped up enforcement against individuals who have been charged with a crime but not yet convicted. However, many of these people had prior criminal convictions. Among the most common crimes committed by arrestees were driving under the influence, drug possession, and assault. 

For perspective, over 25 million foreign nationals currently reside in the United States. This figure includes over 10 million lawful permanent residents, over 10 million undocumented immigrants, nearly 4 million temporary workers and their families, 2 million foreign-national students, and several other smaller groups of long-term residents. Thus, these arrests represent no more than one-half of one percent of the immigrant population.

ICE Deportation Statistics for 2018

In 2018, the US deported 256,085 illegal aliens, of which 57% were convicted criminals. This figure was sometimes presented in the media as a dramatic 13% increase versus the prior year. A closer look at the data, however, reveals that 2017 was a below-average year, while 2018 was above average, so the two years cancel each other out. The average number of deportations for the past three years remains about 240,000 per year. This is still less than one percent of the total immigrant population in long-term residence in the U.S.

Based on all of this data, it would appear that a law-abiding, documented immigrant has relatively little reason to be concerned about being arrested or deported from the US. 

A Stamford Naturalization Lawyer Can Smooth Your Path to Citizenship

Many lawful permanent residents (LPRs) of the U.S. have been eligible for citizenship for years but have never felt a need to spend the time and money to become naturalized. In recent years, however, more LPRs are deciding that they want to become citizens to reduce the chance of being deported. 

If you are considering naturalization, consult with an experienced Fairfield County citizenship and naturalization lawyer. Gonzalez Law Office, LLC has over 15 years of experience in preparing immigration and naturalization applications for our clients. Call us at 203-323-1440.

Sources:

https://www.ice.gov/features/ERO-2018

https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Lawful_Permanent_Residents_2017.pdf

Fairfield County Bar Association Connecticut Bar Association American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut American Immigration Lawyers Association
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