The Dallas area led the nation in arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year, according to a report from Pew Research Center.
More than 16,500 arrests were made in the Dallas area by ICE in the agency's last fiscal year, which ended in October. The Dallas area also saw 6,886 more arrests between 2016 and 2017. That's the largest one-year increase of individual arrests among the agency's coverage areas.
This is also the first time Dallas has led in the number of ICE arrests during the 2009-2017 period analyzed. The Houston and Atlanta areas followed with the second- and third-highest totals in 2017. Each area had around 13,500 arrests, followed by Chicago, San Antonio and Los Angeles, each with roughly 8,500 arrests.
The percentage of arrests in the Dallas area grew 71 percent between 2016 and 2017.
In recent years, areas closer to the Texas-Mexico border, including Houston and San Antonio, topped the list for arrests. The El Paso area, however, had among the fewest ICE arrests last year, despite being located close to the border.
ICE made a total of 143,470 arrests in fiscal year 2017, a 30 percent rise from fiscal year 2016 — and a three-year high. The surge began after President Trump took office last January, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 25 that expanded ICE’s enforcement focus to most immigrants in the U.S. without authorization, regardless of whether they have a criminal record. Under President Barack Obama, by contrast, ICE focused its enforcement efforts more narrowly, such as by prioritizing the arrests of those convicted of serious crimes,” according to the research center.
Despite the overall rise in arrests last year, ICE made about twice as many (297,898) in fiscal 2009, when President Obama came into office. This total has generally declined in the years since.
ICE reports arrests geographically by “areas of responsibility.” The Dallas area covered by the agency includes 128 counties in North Texas and Oklahoma.
Last month, ICE arrested 86 unauthorized immigrants, the majority from Mexico, in North Texas and Oklahoma during a three-day operation. ICE conducts immigration operations daily throughout the country.