Hundreds of Immigrants Arrested in ‘Routine’ U.S. Enforcement Surge

"The fear coursing through immigrant homes and the native-born Americans who love immigrants as friends and family is palpable," said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

REUTERS

(Reuters) — U.S. federal immigration agents arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least four states last week in what officials on Friday called routine enforcement actions.

Reports of immigration sweeps last week sparked concern among immigration advocates and families, coming on the heels of President Donald Trump’s executive order barring refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations. That order is currently on hold.

“The fear coursing through immigrant homes and the native-born Americans who love immigrants as friends and family is palpable,” Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said in a statement. “Reports of raids in immigrant communities are a grave concern.”

The enforcement actions took place in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and surrounding areas, said David Marin, director of enforcement and removal for the Los Angeles field office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Only five of 161 people arrested in Southern California would not have been enforcement priorities under the Obama administration, he said.

The agency did not release a total number of detainees. The Atlanta office, which covers three states, arrested 200 people, Bryan Cox, a spokesman for the office, said. The 161 arrests in the Los Angeles area were made in a region that included seven highly populated counties, Marin said.

Marin called the five-day operation an “enforcement surge.”

In a conference call with reporters, he said that such actions were routine, pointing to one last summer in Los Angeles under former President Barack Obama.

“The rash of these recent reports about ICE checkpoints and random sweeps, that’s all false and that’s dangerous and irresponsible,” Marin said. “Reports like that create a panic.”

He said that of the people arrested in Southern California, only 10 did not have criminal records. Of those, five had prior deportation orders.

Michael Kagan, a professor of immigration law at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, said immigration advocates are concerned that the arrests could signal the beginning of more aggressive enforcement and increased deportations under Trump.

“It sounds as if the majority are people who would have been priorities under Obama as well,” Kagan said in a telephone interview. “But the others may indicate the first edge of a new wave of arrests and deportations.”

Trump recently broadened the categories of people who could be targeted for immigration enforcement to anyone who had been charged with a crime, removing an Obama-era exception for people convicted of traffic misdemeanors, Kagan said.

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8 comments


  • Interesting that of the 200 people arrested, only 10 did not have a criminal record and 5 had prior deportation orders. So not only do they come here illegally, but the vast majority have committed felonies other than the one that brought them across our border. Why again is this a problem?

      • Luke the problem is that Obama instructed his border agents not to deport. I do feel bad for the families. Particularly the kids that will be separated. However. when you have so many of these people that are committing crimes, they need to go. The lady from Arizona last week said she felt like a criminal. Guess what. She was a criminal. No one said anything about the identity she stole. Did she ruin someone else’s life? We need to crack down on the companies that employ them illegally, and we need to crack down on the illegals when they are caught. Any criminal conviction should result in automatic deportation. If they have no conviction, then there has to be some penalty or restitution for invading our border. At a minimum, they should never be allowed the right to vote regardless of what status they ultimately attain.

        • Incorrect. President Obama deported over 2.5 million people. But I agree with you, if someone is violent or a felon, they need to go.

          • OK, fair enough Re Obama deports. Why then is there so much angst over this when there wasn’t any the past 8 years. I’m referring to the media over coverage and the demonstrations.

          • Well, you’re talking about the difference between someone who is a gentleman and someone has offended most of the country. Deeply offended and took great joy in doing so.

  • Immigrants arrested?

    Oh, my! They must be suspected of having done something illegal.

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