Lisa Rein, Abigail Hauslohner, and Sandhya Somashekhar reported for the Washington Post that immigration authorities arrested hundreds of illegal immigrants in raids in multiple states this past week:
The raids, which officials said targeted known criminals, also netted some immigrants who did not have criminal records, an apparent departure from similar enforcement waves during the Obama administration that aimed to just corral and deport those who had committed crimes. Trump has pledged to deport as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. Last month he also made a change to the Obama administration’s policy of prioritizing deportation for convicted criminals, substantially broadening the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target to include those with minor offenses or no convictions at all.
Note the imprecise descriptions such as “apparent departure” and that Obama “aimed to” to corral only criminals.
Now, it turns out that — despite what both Trump and various articles suggested — these raids were in the works long before Trump made his changes. “ICE says L.A. immigration arrests were planned long in advance, not tied to new crackdown,” was the Los Angeles Times headline.
The Obama administration ended all of three weeks ago, but is it true that it didn’t “corral and deport” those who had committed crimes? Here’s The New York Times on April 9, 2014:
On Monday, The Times reported that most of those deported by the Obama administration don’t fit the profile of serious criminals, threats to public safety, ‘the worst of the worst,’ as Janet Napolitano, Mr. Obama’s first Homeland Security secretary, used to put it.
Far from it. ‘Two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases,’ Ginger Thompson wrote, ‘involve people who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all.’
On Tuesday, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research organization at Syracuse University that studies immigration statistics, reported similar findings. It found that in fiscal year 2013, ‘only 12 percent of all deportees had been found to have committed a serious or ‘Level 1’ offense based on the agency’s own definitions.’
And here’s Politico last year in a story about corralling and deporting non-prioritized people in the country illegally:
The Obama administration confirmed Monday that it began a new wave of arrests of Central American immigrant families over the weekend, moving forward with deportations of mothers and children despite an outcry from immigrant rights groups and potential political fallout for Democrats.
Here’s what the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles reported about the recent California enforcement operation:
Of the 160 arrested, about 150 had criminal histories, while five more had either been previously deported or had ‘final orders of removal’. Many of those arrested had prior felony convictions for ‘serious or violent offenses’ including child sex crimes and assault.
The arrestees – which were 95 percent male – included nationals from a dozen countries, according to ICE.
This is perhaps a minor point, but the framing chosen by the Post in the story up top is a good example of a recurring amnesia with regard to the previous president and the unevenness with which media treats the current administration.