From 2011 to 2016, under the Obama administration, the number of arrests made by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) officers dropped significantly every year. Because of this, promises to increase interior enforcement operations became a central part of Donald Trump’s broader campaign promise to enforce our immigration laws. According to data from Pew Research, he is keeping that promise so far.
According to the report, ICE arrests plummeted from nearly 300,000 in 2009, to just over 110,000 in 2016 – a 63 percent decrease. They continued to drop in the first several months of Fiscal Year 2017.
This trend changed immediately after President Trump took office. In the final eight months of Fiscal Year 2017, ICE arrests rose 42 percent, resulting in an overall increase of 30 percent for the entire year. Arrests increases in every ICE sector in the country.
What this data shows is that President Trump is taking the handcuffs off immigration enforcement agents and allowing them to do their jobs. However, it remains critically important to complement enforcing our immigration laws with removing the incentives that encourage illegal immigration in the first place. A good place to start with this would be to enact common sense measures like mandatory E-Verify for employers and to begin punishing so-called “sanctuary cities.”
Unfortunately, instead of building upon this improvement in interior enforcement, congressional leaders are considering legislation that would offer an amnesty that rewards law-breakers who brought their children into the country illegally. Such behavior will only exacerbate the problem, making the jobs of immigration enforcement officers even harder and more dangerous, especially if they fail to couple any amnesty with serious immigration reforms that deter future illegal immigration.