PHOENIX — A recent report showed that law enforcement agencies across the U.S. arrested hundreds of American citizens until they could prove they were in the country legally.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research organization associated with Syracuse University, found that highly controversial detentions occurred between 2008 and 2012. The data showed that immigration and customs enforcement ordered the detention of more than 800 American citizens.
The TRAC study also reported that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ordered police to arrest over 28,000 legal permanent residents — the majority of which had no previous criminal background.
In more than two out of three (77.4%) of the detainers issued by ICE, the record shows that the individual who had been identified had no criminal record — either at the time the detainer was issued or subsequently. For the remaining 22.6 percent that had a criminal record, only 8.6 percent of the charges were classified as a Level 1 offense.
The report added that of those individuals classified as “Level 1 offenders”, the most severe cases were convicted of traffic and immigration violations.
In total, ICE ordered the detention of nearly 1 million people during the 50 months.