Federal agents conduct immigration raids in at least six states
U.S. immigration authorities arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least a half-dozen states this week in a series of raids that marked the first large-scale enforcement of President Trump’s Jan. 25 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.
Officials said the raids targeted known criminals, but they also netted some immigrants without criminal records, an apparent departure from similar enforcement waves during the Obama administration, as reported in The Washington Post.
Trump has pledged to deport as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records.
Immigration officials confirmed that agents this week raided homes and workplaces in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, the Los Angeles area, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said they were part of “routine” immigration enforcement actions.
Only in the state of California, ICE confirmed on Friday that approximately 160 immigrants were arrested in raids conducted in six Southern California counties.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said the raids targeted “at-large criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants, and immigration fugitives.”
Rumors of the raids and checkpoints at traffic lights sent a wave of fear across the Southland. ICE officials initially denied any targeted operations were taking place and said reports that 100 immigrants were detained were exaggerated, as reported in Fusion.
Hiba Ghalib, an immigration lawyer in Atlanta, told The Washington Post that ICE detentions were causing “mass confusion” in the immigrant community. She said she had heard reports of ICE agents going door-to-door in one largely Hispanic neighborhood, asking people to present their papers.
Immigration officials acknowledged that as a result of Trump’s executive order, authorities had cast a wider net than they would have last year.