San Diego County Has Among The Highest Rates Of ICE Community Arrests
San Diego County has one of the highest rates of community arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the country, according to a new Syracuse University report.
Community arrests are those that involve ICE agents detaining people at their homes, work or while traveling. They are different from custodial arrests, which are conducted when law enforcement officers contact ICE in certain cases if people, arrested for other crimes, don't have papers.
Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee said this shows the agency is not prioritizing criminals under the Trump administration.
“It goes against the rhetoric we hear coming out of the White House that those who are being detained are MS-13 gang members and the worst of the worst," Rios said. "ICE is detaining working people, working families."
The study found that for Fiscal Year 2017 through May of last year, more than 2,000 ICE community arrests were made in San Diego County, making it the fourth-highest in the U.S. in terms of numbers and third highest in terms of rate. The highest for both was Dekalb County in Georgia.
The report was written with records obtained by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse through the Freedom of Information Act. The documents showed a ten-fold difference in odds of ICE enforcement depending on where you live. The report also says a person's odds of being arrested by ICE in a "community arrest" have nothing to do with whether they reside in a sanctuary versus non-sanctuary jurisdiction.
Susan Long, the report's author, said the variation in enforcement based on location reveals an "erratic" enforcement pattern.
"They're really not prioritizing, and everyone's a potential target, and they're not facing the reality that they simply don't have the staffing to arrest, detain and deport 11 million individuals," she said.
About 11 million people are estimated to be living in the U.S. without proper documentation.
Arcela Núñez-Alvarez, research director of the National Latino Research Center at the Cal State University San Marcos, said these community arrests alter people's daily lives.
"People are even afraid to walk outside of their immediate neighborhoods," she said.