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ICE quietly confirms the detention of 367 Immigrants in raids across the country

April 12, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
ICE quietly confirms the detention of 367 Immigrants in raids across the country

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials revealed last week that they apprehended at least 367 people in a series of raids across the U.S.

The arrests were made public throughout the week beginning last Monday when ICE officials indicated that they arrested 153 individuals in Texas during a 12-day investigation that concluded last month, according to a press release.

On Tuesday, ICE said 75 people were apprehended in a three-day bust in North Texas. Then, on Wednesday, officials announced that 82 others were arrested over the course of five days in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. In New York City, there were 31 people detained over the course of three days.

On Thursday, ICE said another 26 were arrested in Colorado and Wyoming, the Daily Caller reported.

ICE’s Fugitive Operations Division carries out operations on a daily basis, but the raids announced last week—in which multiple groups of agents go into a city simultaneously—have been more unique.

ICE officials revealed raids over the past month had detained 367 undocumented immigrants Image via ICE

The agency said the busts focused on arresting “criminal immigrants, illegal re-entrants, and fugitives.” These talking points are similar to the ones ICE announced during the Obama administration to explain deportations, except now it is clear that it was misleading: people without criminal histories were also apprehended and deported.

Currently, the Trump administration is also using the same argument to carry out what seems to be more raids more often.

Each press release sent out last week exemplified the violent crimes carried about by some of those arrested. There were suspects found guilty of rape, sex trafficking, and child abuse.

The spokesperson for the New York regional ICE announced that 30 of the 31 people arrested in New York had some criminal record: Twelve of which were arrested for DUIs; four had charges related to drug possession; one was charged with possession of heroin, and another four had been charged with fraud.

Federal officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 153 immigrants with criminal records during a 12-day enforcement action which ended last Friday.

This may indicate that the majority of individuals arrested in the New York-area are not the “most dangerous criminal immigrants in America” President Donald Trump often refers to in speeches.

Dani Bennett, a spokesperson for the ICE, said that “individuals who drive under the influence have long been considered by a public safety threat and enforcement priority.

While that’s true, there’s a difference between what the Trump administration and its predecessor consider a “public safety threat.”

Under Obama’s presidency, those caught driving while intoxicated were deemed to be a second-tier priority for deportation.

Formerly, more resources were devoted to people of tier-one priority suspects, such as those suspected of terrorism or espionage, gang members, and immigrants apprehended at the border while trying to illegally enter the U.S.

ICE arrested 82 individuals from 26 different countries during a five-day operation focused in Virginia and the District of Columbia that ran from March 26 to 30. Image via ICE

Currently, Homeland Security noted that personnel should prioritize all immigrants for deportation who have been charged with any offense, including those who have been charged but not yet found guilty of the crimes, according to Secretary John Kelly’s memo.

Some experts believe that the shift in policy indicates that there are now five times more immigrants prioritized for deportation than there were under the previous administration.

Immigrant advocates also say the operations are not about arresting fugitives.

Advocates with a Virginia group called La ColectiVA allege that the raids are part of the administration’s agenda to get immigrants to “live in fear of detention, deportation, and of being abducted.”

Bennett also added that these operations are part of targeted efforts and that the agency does not conduct random checkpoints at traffic lights or public areas that target immigrants indiscriminately.

Furthermore, the raids launch a surge of fear and worry in immigrant communities, the consequences of which are already experiencing.

The Los Angeles Police Department revealed that they have seen a 25% decrease in reports of sexual assault coming from the Latino community in the past few months.

Houston Police added that the number of individuals reporting rape decreased by close to 43% from January to March, compared to the same period last year.

An attorney in Denver city told NPR that four women have dropped domestic abuse charges out of concern that they could end up detained by ICE.

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