Immigrants come to Kentucky and other states across the nation for many reasons. Some come as the fiancé or spouse of a U.S. citizen. Some are simply seeking a safer place to live, where they and their children have more opportunities to have a better future. And, some come after being hired by U.S. employers. In the past, those who have not committed a crime or have committed only a minor crime did not usually need to fear deportation. However, under current policy, that may be changing.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is apprehending more individuals who have not committed a violent crime or even those who have not committed a crime at all. According to one report, compared to the first nine months of the 2017 fiscal year, the number of ICE arrests of those with no criminal record increased 66 percent in the first nine months of fiscal year 2018. However, arrests of those who have been convicted of a crime in the past went up only 2 percent.
Moreover, fiscal year 2017 saw a 174 percent uptick in the deportation of non-criminals. In comparison, the deportation of individuals who have been convicted of a crime went up approximately 13 percent in fiscal year 2017. Even ICE data reports that in the 2017 fiscal year, of the approximately 220,000 individuals who were deported during that time-frame, around 79,000 had not been convicted of a crime. Of those who did commit a crime, illegal entry or re-entry was the most serious crime that one-quarter of them committed. In addition, studies have determined that more U.S. citizens than deported immigrants commit violent crimes, such as rape and murder.
This information is certainly concerning to both immigrants and non-immigrants alike. While it used to be the case that, generally, only immigrants who committed serious crimes were apprehended by ICE, it seems that even those who have committed non-violent crimes will be apprehended under a “zero-tolerance” policy. However, those who are apprehended by ICE still have rights that must be upheld. Unfortunately, wrongful deportations could occur, affecting the path of the immigrant’s life forever. Those who believe their rights as immigrants have been violated may want to seek more information in an effort to avoid deportation.