The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) have conducted a week-long, targeted enforcement operation, which resulted in 170+ at-large illegal immigrants arrested throughout the United States, in states with sanctuary policies.
About the Immigrants Arrested
ICE officers from the field offices of New York, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., conducted the operation from October 3 through October 9. The arrests targeted aliens who had criminal convictions and were arrested but were later released by state or local law enforcement agencies despite immigration detainers. In a press release, ICE announced that more than 80% of the aliens arrested had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges at the time of the arrest.
Immigrants arrested included 54 in New York, 35 in Seattle, 34 in Denver, 26 in Philadelphia, 12 in Baltimore, and 11 in Washington, DC. At the end of September, ICE announced the arrest of 128 aliens in California, where the operation was conducted from September 28 to October 2. ICE also released data for the fiscal year 2019 showing more than 1,900 arrests for convictions and charges for homicide; 1,800 for kidnapping; 12,000 for sex offenses; 5,000 for sexual assaults; 45,000 for assaults; 67,000 for crimes involving drugs; 10,000 for weapons offenses; and 74,000 for DUIs.
Acting DHS Secretary Chad F. Wolf said, “Last fiscal year, 86 percent of people arrested by ICE had criminal convictions or pending charges. ICE focuses its resources on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety. The men and women of ICE put their lives on the line every day to keep these individuals off the streets.” He added, “The Department will continue to carry out lawful enforcement actions in order to keep our communities safe, regardless of whether or not we have cooperation from state and local officials. Politics will not come before safety when enforcing the law and keeping our citizens safe.”
Though the arrests made by ICE indicate that immigrants with a criminal record are the primary targets, the news release stated that ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.
About Sanctuary States
Sanctuary states are states with immigrant-friendly laws that restrict cooperation with federal immigration authorities. This non-cooperation by the state or local law enforcement agencies impedes ICE’s ability to arrest criminal aliens in such communities. The release further stated that all those in violation of immigration laws can be subject to arrest, detention, and subsequent removal. Additionally, ICE stated that cooperation with local law enforcement is essential to maintaining public safety.