In some cases, immigrants who get arrested in the United States have never violated the law in the past. Their first arrest comes at the hands of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
However, studies show that agents in 2017 seemed to be targeting those with prior arrests more often than not. In fact, one study claimed that only 11 percent of those arrested had no known charges or convictions on their records at the time of those arrests.
It is worth noting, however, that around 16 percent had criminal charges that were merely pending. It is important not to lump these individuals in with those who already have records and prior convictions. The justice system in the United States is very clear that no one should ever be considered guilty before it is proven in a court of law.
That said, the study did claim that 74 percent of those who got arrested had a criminal record. That's a very significant percentage, showing that a heavy majority have faced legal penalties in the past. It is clearly a point of emphasis.
It is also clear that things have been changing over the years. For instance, the numbers from 2009 show that a full 61 percent of people who got arrested by ICE -- a healthy majority -- did not have convictions on their records. For those roles to completely flip places is very interesting.
Those who have been arrested need to know all of their legal rights and defense options, whether they have a past criminal record or not.