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Ten-Fold Difference in Odds of ICE Enforcement Depending Upon Where You Live

“The odds of being arrested and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) vary greatly depending upon where an individual lives. Sanctuary jurisdictions that limit local cooperation with ICE enforcement officers often reduce these odds. Despite ICE statements that the agency uses stepped-up arrests out in the community when local jurisdictions fail to cooperate, ICE records do not show that the odds of a “community arrest” are greater in sanctuary versus non-sanctuary jurisdictions. In the first national study comparing Secure Community (SC) removals and ICE community arrest levels, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University found more than a ten-fold difference in the odds of ICE enforcement actions among states, and even larger differences among counties. During FY 2018, ICE deported 77,858 individuals through its Secure Communities program. As there are an estimated 11 million undocumented people in the country, this meant 6.9 SC removals for every 1,000 individuals, or a 0.69 percent deportation rate. Los Angeles County, California, with the largest unauthorized population in the country, had only one-fourth the national rate of Secure Community deportations. New York City and Cook County, Illinois, where Chicago is located, each had only one-fifth the national rate. Yet all three also had below-average ICE community arrest rates. The odds of SC deportations for states with 100,000 or more undocumented residents ranged from a low of 1.9 per thousand in New Jersey to a high of 22.8 per 1,000 in Arizona. The same set of states also had highly variable rates of ICE community arrests, ranging from a low of 2.4 per 1,000 undocumented in Virginia to a high of 25.6 per 1,000 in Pennsylvania. No relationship was evident among states that have lower rates of SC deportations and those with higher rates of community arrests, or vice-versa.

Whatever the faults may be in our current immigration laws, the manner in which these laws are being administered has resulted in a country in which the location of your home has an outsize influence on whether ICE will target you. This has also not resulted in an effective system for achieving this Administration’s stated policies or its goals. To read the full report, go to:

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