The past few years have been particularly unpredictable for many nonresidents living in the United States. The current administration has ratcheted up immigration enforcement. This has led to many more headlines about raids, arrests and deportations.
Some officials have suggested this crackdown is targeting undocumented immigrants that have a criminal past. A new analysis, however, found that is not the case. Arrests of noncriminal undocumented immigrants have risen dramatically – and in Florida more than anywhere else.
A sevenfold increase in noncriminal arrests
An analysis by the Tampa Bay Times counted the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests of noncriminal undocumented immigrants – meaning undocumented immigrants who have not previously been convicted of a crime.
In 2015, there were 830 arrests of noncriminal undocumented immigrants in Florida. The next year it fell to 468 arrests. Then everything shifted.
In 2017 ICE arrested 1,850 noncriminal undocumented immigrants in Florida. In 2018, it jumped to more than 3,200 arrests. All told, the Tampa Bay Times says arrests of noncriminal undocumented immigrants in Florida are seven times higher than they were under the previous administration, making it the state with the largest increase.
What happens after an immigration arrest
A person arrested and facing deportation does have an opportunity to challenge the reason for their removal from the U.S. during the official removal proceeding process. After being sent a Notice to Appear, which explains why the person will be removed from the country, there will be at least one court hearing. The individual may have the opportunity in court to dispute the grounds for their removal, and in later hearings can try to prove they should not be deported.
It is very important during this process to present a strong defense with good evidence, which is why some people facing deportation choose to hire an attorney. A lawyer can assist you through all parts of the process, from detention or bond hearings through to providing representation in court.
Many people’s lives are being turned upside down right now. The arrest numbers make that clear. But everyone has the opportunity to challenge deportation.