Kelly on non-criminal ICE arrestees: ‘not the valedictorians’

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly defended the uptick in immigration arrests by his agents with colorful language in an interview with FOX News Friday morning.

“Seventy-five percent of the people that the great men and women of ICE have taken into custody, 75% are criminals. The other 25% are not innocent; they are multiple deportees, they are people who have been fleeing from the law, they are fugitives. But they are not necessarily convicted criminals,” Kelly said. Seventy-five percent are indeed criminals. The other 25% are not the valedictorians of their high school class.”

Kelly’s phrasing aside, his figures square with the latest numbers out from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In the first 100 days of the Trump administration: 41,318 immigrants were arrested. Of that total, 30,473 had criminal convictions, ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges. That amounts to roughly percent 74%.

The other quarter of the total, numbering 10,845, have no criminal convictions and could have been arrested, as Kelly said, for reasons including multiple illegal re-entries into the country and refusing to check in with ICE officials.

They also could have been arrested for baseline immigration law violations: crossing the border illegally or overstaying a visa.

Memos put out by the Trump administration in his first weeks in office adjusted priorities for immigration enforcement officers, enabling them to arrest more broadly — virtually every undocumented immigrant in the US entering the purview.

With some specific exceptions, including DACA recipients, “the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” the memo reads.

DHS did not respond to a request to expand on the secretary’s “valedictorians” comment.

While Kelly told NBC’s “Meet the Press” earlier this year that “illegally doesn’t necessarily get you targeted, it’s got to be something else,” ICE does not only arrest immigrants that they specifically target.

Individuals encountered in the course of priority or target arrests can also be arrested and subject to deportation, ICE has said.

Violators of immigration law who don’t have a criminal record can too be targeted for arrest under certain circumstances. Many of the priority non-criminal offenders arrested are so-called “arriving aliens,” who have recently crossed the border illegally, according to ICE figures.

ICE’s top priorities for arrests remain immigrants who they say pose a national security threat or those with multiple, violent convictions.

Under his broader policy, immigration arrests in Trump’s first 100 days constituted a significant increase from a similar period of time in the previous year, under Barack Obama. Non-criminal arrests comprised the bulk of that increase.

Between January 20 and April 29, 2016, 31,128 immigrants were arrested, nearly 86% of which had criminal convictions.

Last year’s figures, however, do not tell the whole story. Obama, once referred to by critics as the “deporter in chief,” had even higher immigration arrest figures than Trump earlier in his administration, before he reformed his own policy in part through executive action.

From January 20 to April 29, 2014, Obama’s ICE arrested 54,584 immigrants, with a 73%-27% breakdown of criminal versus non-criminal offenders.

8 moms, 8 months pregnant thanks to Hurricane Matthew

A South Carolina photographer known for capturing beautiful pictures of newborn babies might have eight more clients thanks to Hurricane Matthew.

Cassie Clayshulte of Cassie Clayshulte Photography took photos of eight expectant mothers who are all eight months pregnant after Hurricane Matthew swept the East Coast last October. 

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Clayshulte said when the storm hit the small town of Bluffton, she was inspired to do something for parents who gave birth during the mandatory evacuation.

“I felt the call to show those in our area that something beautiful could come from something devastating,” Clayshulte said.

Clayshulte’s photography business is the official newborn photographer for Coastal Carolina Hospital and she noticed that after major events, like a hurricane or power outages, she sees a surge in newborn clients, so she knew nine months after Hurricane Matthew would be busy.

That’s when Clayshulte got the idea for a special project.

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“I wanted to show everyone that the storm gave some Bluffton, Beaufort, and Hilton Head couples a special miracle,” Clayshulte said. “If it weren’t for Matthew, these eight couples wouldn’t be expecting these little miracles.”

Clayshulte’s photos of the eight expectant mothers incorporated the hurricane damage that existed in the area to illustrate that beautiful things can come from disaster. She also featured the beaches of Hilton Head to show how the area is still a great place to visit.

“This storm destroyed trees and property and our area’s tourism industry took a big hit, but the storm helped these couples create something even more beautiful and these stunning mommies-to-be are living proof,” Clayshulte said.

The mothers, who were the stars of the photo shoot, can’t wait for their little miracles to be brought into the world.

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“I feel babies always come at a time when they are most needed,” Bluffton mother Danielle said. “When he is born, I feel he will fill a hole in our lives we didn’t even know was missing. I’m so eager and excited to meet him.”

One of the mothers was excited to add another addition to her family.

“We decided to go ahead and try for another great kid. I do call our first Hurricane Porter, so it will be interesting to see if little sister is just as wild, especially since she was conceived during an actual hurricane,” Bluffton mother Molly said.

Clayshulte she wants to use her talent to make the world a better place one photo at a time, but also hopes to show everyone that world is already full of beauty. They just have to choose to see it.

$10,000 reward offered for information about shooting that injured teenage girl

Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person who shot a 15-year-old girl this week in northwest Miami-Dade.

The shooting was reported just after midnight Monday at an apartment complex at 5000 NW 24th Ave.

Miami-Dade police said Shanetta Gilbert, Christopher Jackson and Michael Clarke, all 15, were sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot of the apartment complex when shots were fired.

Gilbert was shot in the back. Her mother told Local 10 News reporter Neki Mohan that the bullet went out through Gilbert’s stomach.

Authorities said a man, identified as Jonathon Bryant, 22, was driving east on Northwest 50th Street when the shooting happened and his car was struck by bullets.

Police said Bryant drove in reverse to get away, but lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a fence at the apartment complex.

Police said his passenger, Shermaine Arnold, 22, was struck in the forehead with glass debris.

Arnold and Gilbert were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. Arnold was listed in stable condition at the hospital and Gilbert was listed in critical condition.

Gilbert’s mother told Local 10 News that her daughter was stable after undergoing surgery.

A motive for the shooting is unknown.

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. 

Florida Gov. oks end to tampon tax, approves 2 tax holidays

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed a $180 million tax cut package that will eliminate taxes charged on tampons and will create two sales tax holidays that will be held over the next three months.

Scott approved the bill even though state legislators gave the Republican governor far less than what he had initially asked for in January.

“Every time we cut taxes, we are encouraging businesses of all sizes to create opportunities for families across the state and more money is put back in taxpayers’ pockets,” said Scott in a statement.

The tax cut package creates a three-day “back-to-school” tax holiday in August where residents can purchase tax-free clothes that cost $60 or less. The tax holiday, which will be held Aug. 4 through Aug. 6, will also cover school supplies costing $15 or less and computers that cost $750 or less.

There will also be a three-day period during the first weekend in June to allow residents to purchase storm preparation supplies tax-free. Batteries, flashlights, portable generators costing $750 or less are on the list of items that will be exempt from Florida’s 6 percent sales tax.

Starting in January, the new law will make feminine hygiene products such as tampons and menstrual pads tax-exempt. Florida is joining 13 states and the District of Columbia that exempt taxes on the sale of feminine hygiene products or have enacted laws to exempt these products in the future.

“This common sense legislation will result in a tax savings for women all over the state who purchase these necessary products,” said Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, the Naples Republican who pushed for the exemption.

Scott had initially asked the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature to pass a hefty $618 million tax cut package that included a 25 percent reduction in the sales tax charged on commercial rents. Scott also wanted the “back-to-school” sales tax holiday to last 10 days and he wanted a three-day sales tax holiday for military veterans. The governor also asked for a one-year elimination of sales taxes charged on college textbooks.

Legislators ignored, or greatly scaled back Scott’s recommendations. They decided to cut the sales tax on commercial rent by only 3 percent.

Republican legislators rejected a Scott plan to use a rise in local property taxes to pay for an increase to public schools. Instead they put together a new state budget that calls for a slight cut in local property taxes that go to schools. They also placed on the 2018 ballot a measure that would increase the state’s homestead exemption for property taxes if approved by voters.

Scott, however, has hinted he may veto the budget, which would force legislators back to the state capital later this year.

WATCH LIVE: Local 10’s “Staying Storm Safe” Hurricane special

With the start of the 2017 Hurricane Season beginning on June 1, join the Local 10 Weather team as they get you ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at South Florida.

On Friday, May 26 at 8 p.m., Chief Certified Meteorologist Betty Davis and Hurricane Specialist Max Mayfield will host “Staying Storm Safe,” an in-depth look at what the 2017 has in store.

From tips to what you’ll need for the season, to a look back at Hurricane Andrew on the 25th Anniversary of that devastating storm, the entire team has you covered.

Be sure to download the Local 10 Hurricane Survival Guide to keep you safe before, during and after a storm.

Remember to stay up to date on the all the latest storm news by downloading the Max Tracker app for iOS and ANDROID.