There were roughly a third more immigration arrests in the first two months of Donald Trump’s presidency compared to the same time period last year.
The Washington Post obtained arrest records from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) between Jan. 20 and March 13, which showed that 21,362 illegal immigrants were arrested, compared to 16,104 arrests in the same time period last year.
President Trump ran on a platform advocating tough immigration enforcement, and in the early days of his time in office signed an executive order that removed restrictions placed on immigration officials by President Barack Obama’s administration. It said that ICE no longer had to prioritize the arrest of criminal illegal immigrants.
There were 5,411 arrests of illegal immigrants without criminal records during this time period under Trump, more than double the number that occurred in the same period last year.
In specific localities, the figures showed how much immigration enforcement has changed under Trump. In Atlanta, ICE arrested 700 illegal immigrants without criminal records, up from 137 in 2016. In Philadelphia, there were six times more arrests of non-criminal illegal immigrants.
Records do show that there were more arrests of both criminal and non-criminal illegal immigrants in this period in 2014, however. That was when the U.S. was facing a record surge in immigration.
The records showed that there have been 57,741 deportations in these first weeks of the Trump presidency, down 1.2 percent from the year prior. ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea responded to this by telling the Post that deportations take a while.
The number of immigration detainers issued by ICE to local law enforcement agencies increased by 75 percent from the year prior to 22,161. Detainers are requests for agencies to hold immigrants in detention so that ICE can retrieve them. The Trump administration has threatened to block law enforcement grants to jurisdictions which refuse to honor them. (RELATED: Sessions: The DOJ Will Take All Lawful Steps To ‘Claw Back’ Funds From Sanctuary Cities)
Dan Satterberg, the top prosecutor in Washington state’s King County, told the Post, “My sense is that ICE is emboldened in a way that I have never seen.”