ICE Arrests Were Way Up in 2017, and These Places Saw the Biggest Increases

Immigration is a big issue these days, especially since Donald Trump keeps weighing in on the subject. As president, Trump has the power to do something about immigration, and he is. After his inauguration, he signed an executive order aimed at ramping up immigration enforcement.

It’s having an effect, according to the Pew Research Center. Arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement increased nationwide in Trump’s first year. ICE arrests were way up across the country in 2017, and these areas had the largest increases.

15. San Diego

Arrest in San Diago

ICE arrests in the San Diego region, which borders Mexico, were up 24% in 2017. | Tom Kurtz/AFP/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 24%

Many of the ICE enforcement territories are wide swaths that include several states (as we’ll see later at No. 3 on the list). The San Diego territory, however, is just a thin strip running across southern California. You would think an area bordering Mexico, one of the countries Trump has a problem with, would have a bigger increase, but San Diego is strictly middle of the road.

Next: One factor contributes to our next city making the list.

14. Seattle

Seattle city skyline

The Seattle territory includes all of Washington, Alaska, and Oregon.| Peter Muller/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 25%

The Seattle territory, which includes all of Washington state, Alaska, and Oregon, is a prime spot for ICE immigrant arrests. Thanks to a growing illegal immigrant workforce in rural Washington, ICE arrests in 2017 increased 25%. That’s a large jump, but not nearly enough to be top 10 on our list.

Next: The numbers aren’t all bad.

13. Buffalo, N.Y

Downtown Buffalo New York City Hall Sunny Day

ICE arrested 1,494 people in upstate New York in 2017. | Miklmar/iStock/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 27%

The rate increase in Buffalo has the area approaching our top 10, but a closer look at the numbers paints a better picture. ICE made 1,173 arrests in its upstate New York territory in 2016. The 27% increase pushed the number to 1,494 in 2017, the fewest among all ICE enforcement zones.

Next: A sizable increase for a small area.

11. Baltimore (TIE)

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

ICE made 427 more arrests in 2017 than in 2016. | SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 34%

Baltimore is the city where you have the best chance of being killed. ICE agents are doing what they can to ensure it’s not because of immigrants. The ICE enforcement territory that includes Maryland and Delaware made 1,666 arrests in 2017, which was 427 more than in 2016.

Next: Our next city isn’t keeping pace with the national trend.

11. Philadelphia (TIE)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

ICE arrests in the Philadelphia enforcement area were up 34%. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 34%

As we mentioned earlier, Donald Trump targeted illegal immigrants right after his inauguration. From then through the end of the fiscal year in September, ICE arrests increased 42% year over year. ICE’s Philadelphia office didn’t increase that much, but its 34% bump is still one of the highest in the United States.

Next: A surprising city so far from No. 1.

10. New York

Immigrants and statue of liberty

New York has the largest population of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.| John Moore/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 39%

It’s probably not shocking to see New York make the list, but it’s somewhat surprising to see it so far from No. 1. After all, New York has the largest illegal immigrant population in the country, so ICE arrests have the potential to be through the roof. But New York’s status as one of America’s sanctuary cities keeps ICE at bay to a certain extent.

Next: Beating big brother.

9. Newark, N.J.

Newark, New jersey

More than 3,000 people were arrested in the Newark enforcement area. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 42%

New Jersey is sometimes considered the red-headed stepchild next to New York, but it outpaces Gotham on our list. The 3,189 arrests in the Newark territory in 2017 outpaced New York by 613.

Next: Let’s visit another well-known sanctuary city.

8. Washington, D.C.

Washington DC in Spring

ICE arrests were up in President Trump’s backyard. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 44%

We mentioned New York as a sanctuary city a few minutes ago. Washington, D.C., is a sanctuary city, too, but ICE agents stayed busy making arrests in 2017. With Virginia also part of the enforcement territory, arrests shot up 44% to 4,163.

Next: Get ready to steam past 50%.

7. Detroit

light tunnel at Detroit Metro International Airport

There was a 52% increase in ICE arrests in the Detroit enforcement area in 2017. | CarolinaSmith/iStock/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 52%

We’re entering the ICE territories where the 2017 arrest rates significantly increased. A 52% jump in Detroit, which includes all of Ohio and Michigan, is big, but not quite enough to land in the top 5.

Next: The numbers show why immigrants are living in fear.

5. Atlanta (TIE)

A Welcome to Atlanta sign in the Atlanta airport

There was a big increase in ICE arrests in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. | wellesenterprises/iStock/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 53%

ICE arrests across Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina increased tremendously. Hardly a sanctuary city, illegal immigrants in Atlanta live in constant fear of ICE agents showing up at their doorsteps. That fear is justified as the arrest rate jumped 11% more than the national average in 2017.

Next: A Democrat stronghold is hardly spared from an increase.

5. Boston (TIE)

Boston City

The number of arrests in Boston jumped 53%. | Mihai Andritoiu/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 53%

Boston and like-minded liberals in the Northeast tend to vote Democrat, but that’s not saving immigrants from Trump’s conservative policy. Despite the media spotlighting some heartless ICE arrests, the arrest rate jumped up by 53%.

Next: Big ICE territory sees a big jump in arrests.

4. New Orleans


ICE arrested more than 1,000 people in the New Orleans enforcement area in August 2017 alone.| nolamissesyou/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 54%

The New Orleans area for ICE includes Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Agents in the territory got busy after Trump signed his executive order. August of 2017 was especially fruitful as they made 1,032 arrests, followed by another 840 in September.

Next: The immigrant population is growing fast in No. 3 on the list.

3. St. Paul, Minn.

St, Paul in Minnesota, USA

There was a 67% increase in arrests in the St. Paul enforcement area. |

  • Arrest rate increase: 67%

We just visited ICE’s New Orleans office, which covers a huge territory. St. Paul is the same way. Among the five states under its purview are Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, states where immigrant populations are growing fastest. With that fact in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising seeing St. Paul’s ICE arrests increased tremendously in 2017.

Next: ICE agents remained busy in this territory in 2017.

2. Dallas

ICE arrests in the Dallas region were up 71% in 2017. | Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

  • Arrest rate increase: 71%

The Dallas metro area will be one of the largest in the United States in 2050 based on one population projection. At this rate, it won’t be because of immigrants living there. ICE’s Dallas office patrols north Texas and Oklahoma, and it was busy increasing its arrest rate a whopping 71% in 2017. It’s a big jump, but Dallas is No. 2 by a fairly wide margin.

Next: Let’s see who’s No. 1.

1. Miami

skyscrapers in miami

ICE arrested nearly 6,200 people in the Miami enforcement area in 2017. |

  • Arrest rate increase: 76%

Thanks in part to Miami, which is one of the cities that are most enticing to immigrants, ICE arrests jumped up a whopping 76% in 2017. The Miami ICE office, which enforces immigration laws for all of Florida, tallied 6,192 arrests in 2017.

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