Homeland Security Secretary commends ICE officers for enforcement actions

Posted February 16, 2017

Federal immigration officials are laying out a range of crimes that have been committed by a undocumented immigrants snatched up in immigration raids around the country over the last week.

Kelly said in a statement that 75% of the immigrants arrested have criminal records, ranging from homicide to driving under the influence of alcohol. "As it is part of a criminal investigation pending federal prosecution, we can not release further details".

According to DHS Secretary Kelly, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a series of targeted enforcement operations across the country last week.

Plant City, in Hillsborough County, has a sizable immigrant population due to farming.

The group also included a felon from Jamaica who had prior convictions for a weapons violation, drug trafficking and domestic violence, and an Australian man taken into custody in West Hollywood who was previously convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child. While insisting the focus remained on those with criminal convictions, or foreigners who posed national security threats, the Obama administration routinely rounded up and deported what the Times termed "low-priority immigrants".

The Homeland Security secretary called the focus of the recent raids, which resulted in the arrests of almost 700 undocumented immigrants, "consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE's Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis".

Chicago's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office made more than 200 arrests across six states - Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri - during an operation that began February 4 and concluded Friday, said spokeswoman Gail Montenegro.

They were targeted for removal in raids planned before Trump took office and Marin said they would have been enforcement priorities under the Obama administration.

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The arrests targeted "convicted criminal aliens and gang members, and individuals who have violated our nation's immigration laws" seen as public threats.

The new order also expanded the definition of "criminal alien" to include individuals who entered the country without authorization, which was originally considered a misdemeanor offense.

While Obama's actions were more focused, critics say, the executive order Donald Trump signed his first week will expand that focus to include almost all undocumented immigrants, including those only suspected of a safety threat or crime.

During a joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, the new Republican president said that his administration was doing "a great job" on curbing immigration.

Agency officials said ICE does not conduct "sweeps, checkpoint or raids that target aliens indiscriminately". "They're terrified", Gerry Chapman said.

"People are very very afraid".

The crackdown comes as Mr Trump's executive order restricting immigration from seven countries remains on hold after the ninth circuit court of appeal last week upheld the ban's suspension.