DHS: 75 percent of those arrested in immigration raids were 'criminal aliens'

DHS: 75 percent of those arrested in immigration raids were 'criminal aliens'
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday said that 75 percent of the people detained last week in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids were “criminal aliens.”

In a press release, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the department arrested 680 people in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Antonio “who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system.” 

“ICE conducts these kind of targeted enforcement operations regularly and has for many years,” Kelly said. “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.”

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Kelly said the “criminal aliens” committed crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, drug trafficking, sexual crimes, assault, DUI and weapons offenses.

Reports emerged over the weekend that ICE officials had conducted raids in several cities, though an exact number of arrests was not disclosed. An ICE official in the Los Angeles office said the raids were part of an “enforcement surge” but maintained they were routine.

President Trump last month signed an executive order calling for the construction on his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall to begin. Another order ended the “catch and release” policy, which allowed people who crossed the border to return to Mexico without being detained.

The new order also expanded the definition of “criminal alien” to include individuals who entered the country without authorization, which was originally considered a misdemeanor offense. Immigrants who have "committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense" are now priorities under the order, even if they have yet to be convicted.

Following reports of the raids, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus sent a letter to ICE, requesting a meeting about the recent immigration enforcement efforts.

“It is critical that we meet with you in person immediately to discuss the impact these raids have had on our communities as well as obtain clarifying guidance on how ICE policies will differ from the last Administration,” the letter said.