Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested hundreds of illegal immigrants nationwide after President Donald Trump signed an executive order removing restrictions placed on ICE during the Obama administration.
“ICE is showing up at people’s homes, showing up at places of businesses. This level of ICE activity in the community is absolutely unprecedented,” Austin pro-immigrant attorney Stephanie Gharakhanian told The Wall Street Journal in a story published Friday.
ICE told reporters in a conference call Friday that they had arrested 161 illegal immigrants in the Los Angeles area in the past five days, as they are embarking on an “enforcement surge” in several major cities.
The prioritization of serious criminal aliens under the Obama administration is no more under President Trump. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that up to eight million people will now be targeted for deportation. ICE agents are now reportedly raiding workplaces, people’s homes and even the cars they sleep in.
Immigration advocates were up in arms after ICE agents deported an illegal immigrant woman Wednesday who had been in the U.S. for 21 years. Protesters attempted to block an ICE van carrying Guadalupe Garcia Reyes and several were arrested.
The ICE enforcement surge has been targeting Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, all sanctuary cities, and ICE officials didn’t deny operations in Austin, Atlanta and Charlotte. An immigration official told The Washington Post that big cities are “target-rich” environments.
Trump’s executive order on illegal immigration provided greater latitude for local law enforcement to work with federal officials, and calls for the deportation of individuals ICE deems a public safety threat even if they haven’t been convicted of a crime.