How is Donald Trump’s war on immigrants playing out in his hometown, where an estimated 500,000 residents are undocumented? In the eight months after Trump’s inauguration, ICE arrests in the New York City area jumped by 67 percent compared to the same period in the previous year, and arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions increased 225 percent, reports The Marshall Project and New York Magazine. During that time, ICE arrested 2,031 people in the five New York boroughs and surrounding counties. These aren’t unprecedented numbers: ICE arrested almost four times as many people in New York City in 2010 as it did last year, and it picks up far fewer people here than in some other parts of the country.
Thanks to free legal assistance, immigrant New Yorkers are more likely to be represented in court than many of their counterparts around the country. (Eighty percent in Queens versus 39 percent in South Carolina, for example.) Partly as a result, they’re less likely to get deported, according to data from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. Nonetheless, Trump’s crackdown has instilled a new level of fear among immigrants. Before he took office, many immigrants who were considered low priority for deportation were allowed to stay as long as they regularly reported to immigration authorities. But soon after his inauguration, Trump expanded the number of people considered a deportation priority. Today, people whose only offense is staying in the country illegally are being flagged for removal. For many immigrant New Yorkers, once ordinary activities are now fraught with dread. TMP and New York tell some of their stories in a special report.