Media Reporting on ICE Arrests is Simply Criminal
Jennifer G. Hickey
In its latest summary on enforcement activities, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that a majority of overall administrative arrests made in FY 2017, were of individuals who had a criminal conviction (73.7 percent) or pending criminal charges (15.5 percent).But the good news from ICE contradicts the media’s narrative that agents are targeting “innocent” illegal immigrants and tearing families apart.Even though a mere 10.8 percent of arrestees had no known criminal convictions or charges, news organizations printed stories designed to demonize enforcement agencies and discredit their actions.A Washington Post headline frighteningly declared that “Trump takes ‘shackles’ off ICE, which is slapping them on immigrants who thought they were safe.” The article contends the “biggest jump in arrests has been of immigrants with no criminal convictions,” adding that ICE made 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests in FY 2017.The Hill used that report to assert that “Noncriminal” immigrant arrests double in past year,” while a Vice headline targeted ICE for “rounding up” noncriminal aliens “while Congress tries to fix DACA.”The Post story – and the refurbished Hill piece – is partly correct. Yes, there were 37,734 noncriminal arrests made. But what’s missing is that a total of 59 percent of those “had unresolved criminal charges at the time of their arrest,” and 23 percent were fugitives or multiple deportees, according to ICE data.Other news outlets opted for simple mischaracterization and downplaying of the crimes.Newsweek magazine insinuated the criminality of the aliens was insignificant in an article headlined: “Most charges in ICE criminal crackdown related to traffic offenses.”The magazine reported accurately the number of arrests, but downplayed them by noting “more than a quarter of the undocumented immigrants’ previous charges were related to traffic offenses.”In fact, 80,547 had prior arrests or convictions for driving under the influence, a crime which led to the deaths of 10,490 lives in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Ask the families of the 29 people who die each day in alcohol-related crashes how minor the offense is.The coverage by The New Yorker took the apocalyptic route stating the “raids” showed that “any immigrant who is undocumented is now at risk of being arrested and deported.” Ignoring the fact that it was breaking U.S. immigration laws that put them at risk, the magazine went on to assert “immigrants who have lived productive lives in the U.S. for decades are being rounded up.”The utter lack of journalistic integrity is bad for the future of the industry, but their misrepresentation of what ICE is doing and threat posed by criminal aliens is bad for the nation.
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