Immigration arrests rose 32.6 percent in the first 2 1/2 months of the Trump administration, reports the Washington Post. Newly empowered federal agents are intensifying their pursuit of not just undocumented immigrants with criminal records, but also thousands of illegal immigrants who have been otherwise law-abiding. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 21,362 immigrants, mostly convicted criminals, from January through mid-March, compared to 16,104 during the same period last year. Arrests of immigrants with no criminal records more than doubled to 5,441, evidence that President Trump has ditched his predecessor’s protective stance toward most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
Advocates for immigrants say the unbridled enforcement has led to a sharp drop in reports from Latinos of sexual assaults and other crimes in Houston and Los Angeles, and terrified immigrant communities across the United States. A prosecutor said the presence of immigration agents in state and local courthouses, which advocates say has increased under the Trump administration, makes it harder to prosecute crime. “My sense is that ICE is emboldened in a way that I have never seen,” said Dan Satterberg, the top prosecutor in Seattle. “The federal government, in really just a couple of months, has undone decades of work that we have done to build this trust.”