212 people, 195 of whom were convicted criminals and people already ordered to depart the United States, were arrested this week by immigration agents for violating federal immigration laws, according to a news release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In addition, 122 “notices of inspection” were served to businesses in the Los Angeles area after a five-day operation that ended on Thursday, according to ICE.
“Because sanctuary jurisdictions like Los Angeles prevent ICE from arresting criminal aliens in the secure confines of a jail, our officers are forced to conduct at-large arrests in the community, putting officers, the general public and the aliens at greater risk and increasing the incidents of collateral arrests,” said ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan.
More than 55 percent of the arrestees had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault, or had past convictions for significant or multiple misdemeanors, Homan said.
The arrests were driven by leads developed by the local field office in conjunction with the Pacific Enforcement Response Center, an ICE statement said.
“ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” an ICE statement said.
“However, ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States,” the statement said.
Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country.
The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.
A group of immigrant rights activists attempted to block a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement van Thursday night from leaving the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles.
The activists gathered around 7 p.m. in the area of Aliso and Alameda streets, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The crowd eventually dispersed and no arrests were made, according to LAPD Officer Tony Im.
The coalition, which is comprised of Los Angeles County organizations supportive of immigrant rights, says it aims to “create an open source campaign where people push for ICE out of (Los Angeles) through diverse and innovative tactics,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
The group also says it aims to end ICE holds.