Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 37 aliens in Middlesex County, N.J., during a targeted enforcement operation. Middlesex County is identified by the Center for Immigration Studies as a known sanctuary jurisdiction.
The operation specifically targeted aliens who were released by the Middlesex County Jail without honoring the detainer notices provided by ICE. By ignoring these detainers, Middlesex County Jail knowingly released dangerous criminal aliens back into the community. ICE has stated before that at-large arrests are more dangerous to both officers and aliens alike.
In Middlesex County's case, 16 aliens were arrested who had been released from the jail despite an active detainer notice. The remaining 21 aliens were either other known criminal aliens or collateral arrests.
The arrested aliens hailed from 13 different countries, mostly in Central and South America: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, India, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Turkey. Their crimes included everything from DUIs and theft to more egregious cases such as domestic violence assaults and sexual crimes.
In the first half of FY 2018, 66 percent of all ICE arrests have been of convicted criminals. This contradicts the claim that ICE officers are going out of their way to arrest illegal aliens who have not committed serious felonies. More than two-thirds of all arrests are still of criminal illegal aliens, who remain the main priority for immigration enforcement according to an April 2017 memo from the Justice Department.
Publicly available data shows that the current share of non-criminal arrests is actually in line with historical totals. The table below shows the latest available information on ICE's FOIA library tracking administrative arrests by criminality. FY 2017 data is available in that year's Enforcement and Removal Operations Report.
In fact, the first term of the Obama administration (2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012) had a lower share of criminal arrests than FY 2018 under the Trump administration. This indicates that while the priority enforcement categories have expanded, the actual share of criminal arrests has remained largely similar.
For the first half of FY 2018, of the remaining individuals not previously convicted of a crime, 23 percent were either immigration fugitives or had illegally re-entered the United States after a previous deportation, according to the ICE press release.
This adds to the growing list of enforcement actions targeting sanctuary cities this year. In June, enforcement actions resulted in over 500 arrests. As sanctuary jurisdictions continue to defy federal immigration enforcement ICE will be given no choice but to continue large-scale enforcement operations like this most recent one in Middlesex County.