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ICE figures show immigration-related arrests have risen dramatically

For those who have followed immigration-related news on a regular basis over the last few months, it may seem as if not a day has gone by without a headline announcing mass arrests being undertaken by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in cities across the nation.

Interestingly enough, recently released figures from ICE reveal that the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants has indeed risen in recent months -- and not by a small margin.

The figures reveal that in the 100 days since President Donald Trump signed an executive order expanding immigration enforcement capabilities, immigration arrests have risen 38 percent when compared to the same time last year.

Perhaps even more shocking, the figures reveal that the most significant increase in arrests was not among those with criminal records, but those whose only offense was their immigration violation.

Indeed, ICE agents arrested 10,485 of these individuals from January 22 through April 29 versus 4,242 individuals during the same window in 2016, an increase of 156 percent.

As to why the number of ICE arrests of people without criminal records has increased so dramatically in such a short amount of time, experts point to the aforementioned executive order signed by President Trump back on January 25, which significantly expanded immigration enforcement priorities.

Specifically, while the Obama administration deemed convicted felons, gang members and those convicted of multiple misdemeanors deportation priorities, the Trump administration has deemed anyone who has been arrested for a crime or who is believed to pose "a risk to public safety or national security" as deportation priorities.

Experts also point to new directives issued by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, which greatly expanded the powers of ICE agents, including one that essentially enables them to detain any undocumented immigrants they encounter.

For example, if ICE agents conduct a raid on a home seeking an undocumented immigrant with a violent criminal record and fail to discover the individual on the premises, they can now detain and arrest anyone they find in the home who fits the criteria for deportation.

What all of this serves to underscore is that immigration enforcement as we once knew it has largely disappeared, replaced by a far more draconian approach. As such, if you or a loved one is facing deportation or removal from the U.S., it's imperative to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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