ICE numbers available

To the Journal editor:

One thing U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, failed to make clear in his letter to the editor of Jan. 20 is how the number of people arrested by ICE over the past two years is relevant to the issue of whether or not the U.S. should commit more than $5 billion to build a wall near parts of its southern border.

He seems to use the number (“close to 300,000”) as evidence of a need for this wall. But ICE agents arrest people inside the U.S. who entered illegally no matter where, when, or how, and they arrest people who came here legally but who remain illegally. So the total number of people arrested by ICE over a two-year period includes many who came here some way other than across an unwalled section of the southern border.

If people are freely crossing the section of land on which Trump proposes a wall, why not cite that number? At least, if verifiable, it’s relevant, and, perhaps, persuasive.

ICE’s arrest numbers are on its website. For 2017: www.ice.gov/removal-statistics/2017. For 2018: www.ice.gov/features/ERO-2018. In addition, there is a full 2018 report at www.ice.gov/doclib/about/offices/ ero/pdf/eroFY2018Report.pdf. Also, at https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/529/ a non-partisan data research center out of Syracuse University provides a breakdown and analysis of ICE arrest numbers over several years. Again, as ICE is not in charge of border patrol, the numbers have little to do with the issue at hand, but it is interesting to look at as long as numbers and graphs do not make you woozy.

Bergman puts the blame for our government’s impasse in the lap of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and at the feet of all others who oppose this notion that we commit a large sum of money for so little gain, seemingly forgetting where, when, and with whom this demand for a wall began, as well as who was to pay for it.

With respect,

LESLIE ALLEN

Marquette