ICE Says Arrests in Surge Actions Not Linked to Trump Order
Immigration officials confirmed the raids, aimed at targeting people living in the United States illegally who have criminal convictions, netted some who did not have criminal records.
"ICE conducts operations daily nationwide".
Protesters took to the streets in Los Angeles on Thursday evening after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly raided homes and communities around the city and detained over 100 people in a mere three hours.
When the reports spread over social media, they sparked reactions from Californians, including Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, who sent a tweet advising people to know their rights. ICE officials arrested about 160 people in Southern California alone. Marin acknowledged that five of those arrested would not have met the Obama administration's enforcement priorities.
While ICE characterized the actions as routine, fear remains that the Trump administration's recent executive order beefing up interior enforcement of immigration laws could mean a vast expansion of deportations of undocumented immigrants.
There were anecdotal reports of ICE staging traffic checkpoints and random sweeps of people suspected of being here illegally.
Immigration activists said the crackdown went beyond the six states DHS identified, and said they had also documented ICE raids of unusual intensity during the past two days in Florida, Kansas, Texas and Northern Virginia.
Immigration advocates are starting to experience the stepped-up enforcement under President Donald Trump.
In the executive order titled "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements", section 10 of the order states the executive branch empowers "state and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer in the interior of the United States to the maximum extent permitted by law".
Still, the unnamed immigration official seemed to suggest that there was at least something deliberate and calculated about the "surge, "saying of operations in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, "The fact that they coincided is not entirely a coincidence".
"I have been informed by ICE that the agency's San Antonio field office has launched a targeted operation in South and Central Texas as part of Operation Cross Check. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately", Bryan Cox, ICE's Southern region communications director, said in a statement Saturday.
Castro said the roundups were part of Operation Cross Check - a series of large-scale raids that began in 2011 under Barack Obama.
"We're talking about people who are threats to public safety or a threat to the integrity of the immigration system", she said.
In New York, which hosts the country's largest population of undocumented immigrants - 1.15 million, according to Pew - a few hundred people demonstrated near the immigration services office.
While Trump has vowed to sharpen the federal focus on immigration, his predecessor quietly increased the number of deportations. Notably, experts have challenged Trump's estimates of the number of undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes.
Activists have rallied around the case of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos - a 35-year-old mother arrested during a routine visit to Phoenix, Arizona who has become symbolic of Trump's hardline measures.
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Congress has tried a number of times to make reforms over the years and under different administrations. The leader of Canada is typically among the first foreign leaders to meet with new USA presidents.
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