The percentage of undocumented people with no criminal record arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has risen to a record high, USA Today reported Thursday, meaning that a record percentage of ICE arrestees have allegedly committed the civil violation of being in the country without proper documentation but no criminal violation.
According to ICE data flagged by the paper, just 63.5 percent of ICE arrestees in December had criminal records, the lowest figure since ICE started tracking the metric in 2012.
That means a staggering 36.5 percent of ICE arrestees had committed no crimes on record.
Despite President Donald Trump’s campaign-era pledge to arrest and deport “criminal illegal immigrants,” once in office he authorized ICE to abandon the Obama administration’s priority of arresting undocumented people with serious criminal records, replacing it with an executive order to arrest and deport anyone subject to a deportation order.
In July 2017, then-acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said the government’s deportation of non-criminal undocumented people had gone from “zero to 100.”
“No population is off the table,” Homan said, referring to undocumented people eligible to be deported.
Still, while the percentage of non-criminal ICE arrestees has spiked, ICE’s total arrest numbers have declined. Perhaps due to an increase in localities refusing to share jail data with ICE, the agency arrested 12 percent fewer people in the final three months of 2018 than in the same period in 2017, Mother Jones noted.