ICE Arrests in the Pacific Northwest Increased 25 Percent in 2017

The jump in arrests was the sharpest increase on the West Coast.

The Seattle field office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which covers Oregon, Washington and Alaska, arrested 3,376 people in 2017—a 25-percent increase from 2016.

The jump in arrests was the sharpest increase on the West Coast, according to data published by the Pew Research Center, though agents working for field offices in California still detained thousands more undocumented immigrants than those working in the Pacific Northwest.

The increase follows a shift in federal priorities laid out by President Donald Trump early in his tenure, which expanded the list of people who ICE agents should target to include virtually anyone living in the country illegally.

A notable exception has been made for people who were brought to the US illegally when they were still children and are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump has said he supports even as he threatens to end the program. However, ICE agents still detained a DACA recipient in Oregon last year.

ICE enforcement efforts in Portland have been met with pushback from local leaders, who point to the state's sanctuary laws and accuse the agency of breaking state and federal laws and violating its own policies.

Immigration agents recently resumed a controversial strategy to detain undocumented people at Oregon courthouses and last year made an arrest on the sidewalk in front of a Portland hospital. The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon and congressmen who represent the state have challenged these arrests, but the agency maintains that its agents have been acting within the bounds of the law.

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