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Huge drop in unauthorized immigrant detentions last fiscal year

According to fiscal year 2013 statistics on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a big change in enforcement priorities could be underway. Over its fiscal-year period ending Sept. 30, 2013, ICE arrested a lot fewer people for being in the country illegally. Nationwide, the number of unauthorized immigrants arrested dropped by 23, according to numbers from the Department of Homeland Security.

That 23-percent drop is great news, on the whole. In some cities, however the arrest rate skyrocketed. Notably, Buffalo, New York, saw ICE arrest rates shoot up by 78 percent, which was by far the largest jump. Other cities where ICE reportedly arrested more unauthorized immigrants than in previous years included Philadelphia, New Orleans, Detroit and Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Considering the enormous increase in unauthorized immigrants arrested in Buffalo, some cities had to have experienced correspondingly substantial drops in their arrest rates. Strikingly, the city with the steepest decline appears to have been Miami. A press report from EFE didn’t list that city’s arrest rate but said that ICE prosecuted a third fewer people than it did the previous year.

Unfortunately, “fewer” doesn’t mean “few,” when it comes to people being arrested for lack of proper documentation. Overall, in fiscal year 2013, 17,691 unauthorized immigrants, on average were deported every single month. That’s lower than the past three years’ average of 30,941 deportations per month, but still shockingly high.

Full numbers weren't provided on the overall rate of unauthorized immigrants being held in ICE detention. However, the number of people being held in ICE facilities grew alarmingly in some areas. The number being held in the District of Columbia shot up by 64 percent.

When people discuss whatever problems they believe unauthorized immigrants cause in our society, it’s crucial to remember that each and every one of the thousands of people being arrested, detained or deported is a human being. Each has a story, a family and a life. Each is involved in individual circumstances with different legal options, and every single one deserves a thoughtful consideration of their immigration case.

Source: Fox News Latino, “Number of undocumented immigrants arrested in the U.S. declines,” EFE, Jan. 27, 2014

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