December 6, 2019 9:17AM

Workplace Immigration Enforcement Increases, Still Below Peak

Reporter Michelle Hackman of The Wall Street Journal has a piece out today about the increase in worksite immigration enforcement over the last few years. Her story focuses on the number of cases initiated and how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is focusing on immigration law while ignoring other offenses.

ICE also provided data to The Wall Street Journal showing that the number of administrative worksite arrests has also increased. Administrative arrests are for civil violations of American immigration law, such as illegal presence. Noncitizens are subject to administrative arrests, but not citizens, and it is the first step toward deporting an illegal immigrant.

Figure 1 puts the increase in administrative worksite arrests in historical context. Although the number is way up from its low point in 2016, it’s still less than half of the peak in 2008 when George W. Bush’s ICE arrested 5,184 people at worksites.

The Trump Administration is increasing immigration enforcement across the board, but from fairly low levels in 2016.