(ESPAÑOL) The government has started deportation proceedings for more than 4,000 immigrants living in Collier and Lee counties, Florida.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) data show that three out of every four counties in the U.S. have residents with pending deportation cases in U.S. Immigration Courts. Although most counties had fewer than 24 residents with pending immigration cases, 10 percent had 200 or more residents with pending cases.
In Florida, all 67 counties but one have residents with pending immigration cases. Most of these immigrants reside in Miami-Dade and Broward counties with some incarcerated in detention facilities. Lee and Collier counties rank numbers five and six for the most pending cases in Florida, with more undocumented immigrants with court cases than in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Duval counties.
The number of immigration cases had grown only slightly prior to the inauguration of President Barack Obama. At the end of 2008, there were 186,108 pending immigration cases, according to TRAC data. By the end of Obama’s term in 2016 there 516,031. The Trump administration seems on track to increase those numbers. As of June 2017, TRAC tallied 610,524 pending cases.
The data also tracked communities where the largest number of residents had pending immigration cases, listing the top 100. Houston was number one, with 33,360 cases. There were 10 communities in Florida on the top 100 list, including Naples, with 1,061 cases.
The high numbers of pending cases for Collier County residents could be due to the sheriff’s office participation in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program “287(g).” Under the 287(g) program, if a person is arrested on criminal charges, the sheriff uses the ICE database to determine immigration status. Collier has been participating in the program since 2007 and it has resulted in 6,091 individuals detained for immigration violations and reported to ICE.