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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. 

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