San Diego

San Diego County has 4th-Highest ICE Arrest Rate in US, TRAC Study Shows

The study's main findings show that the chances of being arrested and deported vary greatly depending on where you live

The chance that undocumented immigrant will be arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is higher in San Diego County than the majority of the country, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by the non-profit Syracuse University research group Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), found that San Diego County had the fourth-highest rate of community arrests -- arrests made at an immigrant's home, work or other public place without the help of local law enforcement. 

The study looked at two different types of arrests used by ICE: community arrests and Secure Community program (SC) arrests, which are made after an undocumented person was detained by a local law enforcement officer and account for four out of five deportations from the U.S.

In San Diego County, the community arrest rate of 9.9 for every 1,000 undocumented people was much higher than the nationwide rate of 6 arrests per 1,000 people, the TRAC study said. Undocumented immigrants were deported at a rate of 5.4 for every 1,000 people. 

The study also found that about 1,146 people in San Diego County were deported through the Secure Community program from Oct. 2017 to Sept. 2018. 

In California, Senate Bill 54 went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, which prohibited local law enforcement from cooperation with ICE officials, though San Diego County later joined the Trump administration to sue the state for the policy. 

The TRAC study noted that states with statewide sanctuary provisions, like SB 54, tended to have below average deportation odds. Though across the state, the rate of arrest under the SC program was 4.6 per 1,000 unauthorized people.  

It should be noted that ICE counts arrests by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at ports of entry that are turned over to ICE as SC arrests. 

California's number was much lower than the national average; SC arrests account for 77,858 deportations nationwide at a rate of 6.9, the study said. 

Despite, Orange County and Los Angeles County had the fourth- and fifth-highest deportation rates across the country, though LA County's rate was only 1.8 deportations for every 1,000 people. 

The study noted that the number of unauthorized immigrants in a county did not necessarily coincide with the number of arrests. Instead, the chances of being arrested and deported vary greatly depending on where you live, especially among communities with sanctuary policies, though community arrests were far less affected in these communities, TRAC found. 

For example, New York City, a sanctuary city, had a below-average rate of community arrests as well as an unusually low number of Secure Community arrests, according to TRAC.

NBC 7 reached out to immigration officials for a response to the study's results but have not yet received comment. 

San Diego County is among the top 10 counties with the largest number of undocumented immigrants. TRAC estimates there are about 211,000 unauthorized citizens living within the county. 

The study only includes cities where there are at least 100,000 unauthorized residents since areas with a smaller population of immigrants is less reliable.

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