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North Texas And Oklahoma Lead The US In Number Of ICE Arrests

Stella M. Chávez
ICE Acting Director Matthew T. Albence was in Dallas Wednesday to discuss the agency's total number of arrests and removals in the 2019 fiscal year.

The North Texas region leads the country in the number of people arrested by U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Nationwide, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested about 143,000 people during the 2019 fiscal year, which ended in September. The Dallas office was responsible for 16,900 of those arrests.

Dallas' office covers a large area – 128 counties and the state of Oklahoma.

ICE Acting Director Matthew T. Albence was in Dallas on Wednesday. He said this region is unique.

“The level of cooperation between state and local law enforcement and our officers here is unsurpassed anywhere in the country,” Albence said. “When you have that cooperation, you have these kinds of results.”

Overall, the total number of arrests nationwide in fiscal year 2019 dropped by 10% compared to the previous fiscal year.

Albence said the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is one reason why that number declined. He said ICE has had to redirect its resources to enforcement at the border.

“Our ability to conduct this at-large enforcement has been increasingly crippled by Congress’ inability to provide sufficient funding for detention beds, transportation and to maintain proper staffing levels for ICE officers and agents,” Albence said.

He was also critical of so-called sanctuary policies or city and law enforcement agencies that refuse to cooperate with ICE.

Of the individuals arrested in the North Texas-Oklahoma region, Albence said more than 95% had a criminal conviction or pending criminal charges.

The Dallas office also deported 14,981 people. Of that number, 11,791 individuals had criminal convictions and 1,873 had pending criminal charges.

Nationally, ICE deported 267,258 people to their country of origin during the 2019 fiscal year.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.