Immigration and Customs Enforcement was in action last week deporting nearly 700 illegal immigrants, the majority of whom were convicted criminals.
Activists around the country have been up in arms after these raids, which ICE prefers to call “targeted enforcement operations.” After ICE deported Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who was previously convicted of using a fake Social Security number, Wednesday, Rayos’ lawyer deemed ICE’s current activists a “war on immigrants.”
Homeland Security secretary John Kelly pushed back against this narrative in a statement Monday. “ICE conducts these kind of targeted enforcement operations regularly and has for many years. The focus of these enforcement operations is consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis,” the former Marine Corps general said.
These raids have indeed been going on an a constant basis.
Congressional Democrats just last year were upset at the Obama administration over ICE raids. Immigration activists, however, are pushing the line that these immigration enforcement activities are being focused on non-criminal illegal immigrants.
Secretary Kelly denied this and said: “Of those arrested, approximately 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges.”
An ICE factsheet also seemed to downplay the extent of the raids, pointing to enforcement actions in previous years that resulted in thousands more arrests. For example, in April 2012 ICE operations netted 3,100 arrests, according to a factsheet from the agency.
President Trump signed an executive order less than a week into office calling for a more aggressive posture from ICE. The executive order also reinstated a program that President Obama sidelined, which allows greater cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE when it comes to deportations.