DHS: Last week's ICE arrests were 'consistent with the routine'

After conducting a nationwide sweep last week, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency released new details on its results.

The five-day sweep, referred to as Operation Cross Check, rounded up more than 680 people, including many convicted felons.

Los Angeles and surrounding areas:

  • 161 foreign nationals arrested. Of these, 151 had prior criminal convictions.
  • Arrests included a previously deported Honduran with prior convictions for drug-trafficking, spousal battery, and petty theft; and an Australian national with a conviction of lewd and lascivious acts with a child.

Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Kansas, and Missouri:

  • 235 foreign nationals were arrested. Of these, 163 had criminal convictions.
  • 60 were previously deported.

Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina:

  • 190 foreign nationals arrested. Of these, 127 had criminal convictions.
  • 29 were previously deported.

New York:

  • 41 foreign nationals arrested. Of these, 38 had criminal convictions.
  • Arrests included a self-admitted MS-13 gang member convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon.

San Antonio:

  • 28 foreign nationals arrested. Of these, 16 had criminal convictions.

According to the ICE fact sheet, the focus of these sweeps were consistent with the agency’s daily routine. ICE officials state that those who are found in violation of federal immigration laws were evaluated on a case by case basis, and when appropriate, arrested by ICE officers.

“ICE conducts these kind of targeted enforcement operations regularly and has for many years,” said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in a statement. “The focus of these enforcement operations is consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis.”

In March 2015, ICE’s National Cross Check operation netted 2,059 arrests nationwide; and in April 2012, they made 3,100 arrests.

Last week’s operation generated controversy as advocacy groups viewed immigration officers’ actions as a consequence of recent executive orders on immigration from President Donald Trump. The sweeps prompted some demonstrations in major cities around the country and set off rumours that immigration agents were also using traffic stops and checkpoints as part of the routine sweeps.

ICE officials responded, saying “reports of ICE checkpoints and sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible. These reports create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger.”

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement on Monday: “I commend the heroic efforts of the dedicated officers. These professionals put their lives on the line to protect our communities and country.”

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