ICE operation nets 9 arrests in Santa Maria

More than two dozen illegal immigrants, a lot of them with criminal backgrounds, were apprehended in Riverside County during a U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement operation, federal officials said Thursday.

Almost 200 people have been arrested by federal agents in southern California as part of a five-day operation targeting immigrants convicted of crimes or in the country illegally, officials said yesterday.

"We want to know just how widespread the abuse is", said Carl Takei, an attorney with the ACLU's National Prison Project who works on immigration detention issues. Within the group, 15 individuals were previously convicted of sex crimes, including a convicted rapist, an earlier deported cocaine trafficker and tw0 with child cruelty convictions.

On Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the conclusion of a five-day expanded enforcement operation.

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While conducting what ICE called "targeted enforcement operations", agents often encounter other people who may be in the country illegally.

"With the new administration, anybody that's in violation of the immigration laws. are subject to arrest".

In the raids, carried out between Saturday and Wednesday, 146 Mexican nationals were apprehended, along with citizens of several countries in Central America, East Asia and Eastern Europe.

The arrests took place through Wednesday as federal immigration agents fanned out across cities including Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Oxnard to arrest immigrants for deportation. The administration said in March ICE would continue making arrests at California courthouses over the objections of the state's chief justice.

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"His daughter is active-duty military, his son-in-law is active-duty military", Pasquarella said.

The number represents a 40 per cent increase over the same period in 2016.

“This is part of their, I think, public relations strategy to say theyre going after people with certain convictions but of course it doesnt tell the whole story of who these people are and the harm that is brought by targeting them and whether its really a sound choice, ” Pasquarella said. Homeland Security databases indicated the man arrested in Los Angeles was deported in 2013 after serving a nine-year prison term, but returned to the United States illegally.

Trump's first month in office was dominated by a battle over his temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries and harsh personal criticism of federal judges who blocked his immigration order.

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