President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration enforcement in January has put a spotlight on the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE. But according to acting Idaho U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez, President Trump’s executive order has not changed how his office handles immigration cases.
“Our criminal alien program has been in place for nearly a decade so this really has not changed our focus," says Gonzalez. "We’ve always had this kind of core mission principle that is for those criminals that have been deported and return and continue to prey on the citizens of Idaho.”
Gonzalez says they focus primarily on prosecuting people for drug and violent crimes.
“Those individuals that have committed crimes, been deported from the country, have returned to the country and in most cases continue to commit crimes when they return to the jurisdiction.”
He says on average, the Idaho office prosecutes 80 criminal immigration cases per year – a combination of people who were previously convicted of a crime, deported and then returned – as well as people found with fake immigration documents.
Because ICE does not release state-by-state deportation numbers, it’s impossible to know exactly how many people living in the state get deported.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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