The right-wing wallflowers of The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, with an almost palpable sense of frustration, that President Trump’s promised weekend roundup of undocumented immigrants did not materialize.
Trump’s words may be characteristically truthless, but not so much meaningless, because the sherbet sadist – if he intends anything – means to frighten, and frighten he surely has. For he must gain some pleasure from the thought of quivering immigrants, or at least ideologues jiggling with pleasure at his “tough talk.”
But we miss the grander picture if we focus only on the cellular degeneration of truth in the federal government under President Biff. And if we fix our gaze only on the administration’s border atrocities, we may miss ICE’s withering gaze in the Carolinas too, where federal agents have grown, in some respects, increasingly ruthless in recent months.
Obama-era ICE still holds the high-water mark for deportations, even if it lacked the demonic bigot at the controls. But new figures from the agency show customs enforcers aren’t afraid, despite their flimsy assurances, to target undocumented immigrants without a criminal history.
It’s not just the people and the faces at the border that may shock and appall us. The numbers are just as galling too.
And we are all worse for an American population of residents and workers that, whether documented or undocumented, wakes up in fear and goes to bed in fear.
As a News & Observer analysis – culled from new ICE figures – noted just days ago, an undocumented immigrant’s observance of our criminal laws may no longer be a shield, particularly in the North Carolina region, which is served by ICE’s Atlanta field office.
The numbers below show that, while the raw figures do not mark much of a change in overall deportations and arrests, ICE seems to be more willing to target non-criminal members of the undocumented population.
In other words, don’t be fooled by the overall numbers. There is, clearly, a shift in ICE’s work that must be noted.
48.3% – The increase over the last year and a half in the number of detainees apprehended by ICE’s Atlanta field office – which oversees enforcement in Georgia and the Carolinas – without a criminal record or pending conviction.
7.75% – The original number of detainees without a criminal record or pending conviction.
11.5% – The new number of detainees without a criminal record or pending conviction a year and a half ago.
6,784 – The number of ICE removals in the Atlanta field office region in the first and second quarters of the 2019 fiscal year.
6,703 – The number of ICE removals in the Atlanta field office in the first and second quarters of the 2018 fiscal year.
7,013 – The number of ICE arrests in the Atlanta field office in the first and second quarters of the 2019 fiscal year.
7,785 – The number of ICE arrests in the Atlanta field office in the first and second quarters of the 2018 fiscal year.
6,129 – The number of ICE removals in the Atlanta field office in the first and second quarters of the 2017 fiscal year.
5,268 – The number of Ice arrests in the Atlanta field office in the first and second quarters of the 2017 fiscal year.
Sources: The News & Observer, Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE)