After having declined for years, arrests of undocumented immigrants have nearly doubled in a region overseen by federal immigration officials in South Florida.
EE. UU The Miami office of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported the arrest of 6,192 people this year in Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. UU That's 3,524 last year, according to agency figures released on Tuesday.
Deportations also increased by 20 percent. According to the data, the Miami office reported 7,100 expulsions this year compared to 5,600 last year.
Interim Field Director of the Miami office, Michael Meade, signaled a Jan. 25 order by President Donald Trump as the driving force behind the rebound. 19659005] Table of arrests of undocumented immigrants "class =" trb_em_ic_img "title =" Table of arrests of undocumented immigrants "data-c-nd =" 2048×1152 "/>
The order revokes the directives of the Obama administration that say that ICE must prioritize the apprehension of undocumented immigrants with criminal records and those who came to the US after January 2014.
"It has given us many more cases in which we can take action," Meade told the Sun newspaper. Sentinel on Thursday. "Basically, it puts every person who is in the United States, that's in violation of immigration law, on the table."
Meade said his office is still giving priority to people with a history penalties.
The increase also reflects the allied coup nation – ICE records show that 143,470 undocumented immigrants were arrested this year, up from 110,104 in 2016.
The Pew Research Center estimates in 2014, 11.1 million undocumented immigrants living in the US. U.S., 850,000 of them in Florida. And under Trump's orders, ICE agents have more discretion to arrest them.
Kelsey Burke, a personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach, said it could leave room for people to be discriminated against and take advantage of them. Burke said he has seen the hesitation of clients filing domestic abuse claims. They fear that if they go to a court for any reason, ICE agents will arrest them.
"There is a legitimate fear around here," said Burke, who immigrated to the United States from Honduras when he was 10 years old.
Prior to this year, the arrests of the Miami office fell every year since 2011, when authorities reported almost 15,700 arrests.
Jessica Shulruff Schneider is director of detention programs for Americans for Immigration Justice, a nonprofit law firm that helps undocumented immigrants. get legal help to stay in the country.
She said she has seen a change in the type of people who end up in custody.
Instead of people who recently immigrated to the US UU., Said he is seeing more people who have lived in the area most of their lives.
" It was very, very rare that ever we would see someone [arrested] who was a member of the community, "he said." We've seen a big change in that. "
Meanwhile, some local governments have come up with ideas to curb reprisals, weighing whether" welcoming "communities should be labeled "or" sanctuary. "
There is no legal definition of what it means to be a" sanctuary "or" welcome "community, but places with such designations enact policies to prohibit employees and the local police from complying with requests from officials Federal Immigration Services to Stop Suspects Longer than Legally Allowed.
West Palm Beach passed a "welcoming city" ordinance in March that banned city employees from helping investigate. the state of citizenship of a resident or the disclosure of said information.
Boynton Beach denied a similar proposal this week.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump threatened to withhold funds from cities that refused to comply with the law. But a federal judge later blocked the order.
Trump's threat earlier this year prompted Miami-Dade County to end its restrictions to cooperate with federal agents.
Boynton Commissioner Christina Romelus, who immigrated from Haiti, proposed the city idea. Local police should not carry additional enforcement work and the city should protect its residents, he argued.
"We have several people living within our municipality who fall under this threat and fear," Romelus said Tuesday. "This does not make them criminals because they live within our jurisdiction and live within our borders."