Federal agents conduct immigration enforcement raids

A group of protesters blocks the southbound 101 Freeway entrance on Aliso Street in downtown Los Angeles Thursday Feb. 9 2017 after reports that about 100 people had been arrested and detained by federal immigration agents

"The rash of recent reports about purported ICE checkpoints and random sweeps are false, dangerous, and irresponsible", ICE said in a statement, according to NBC.

Even though officials stated that they were targeting known criminals, many immigrants with no criminal records were swept up in the raids.

Rights groups said they were planning demonstrations against the raids, which they say has spread "panic and terror" among many immigrant communities. The majority were convicted criminals, ICE officials said, targeted as part of "routine" and "established" enforcement operations.

CHIRLA's director of policy, Joseph Villa, said the organization has had "hundreds of calls to our offices as well from attorneys indicating that their clients have been picked up". Breitbart Texas reported from Austin, Texas, that 44 criminal aliens had been taken into custody this week.

"I am asking ICE to clarify whether these individuals are in fact unsafe, violent threats to our communities, and not people who are here peacefully raising families and contributing to our state", Castro said in a statement. "I will continue to monitor this situation". There are roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, and Trump has vowed to deport roughly three million undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

"It's a way in which Trump and ICE are retaliating against sanctuary jurisdictions", he added. "Really, we have to ask ourselves, 'Is it worth the moral cost to just go out and arrest people and suddenly become like we are kind of a police state?"

Of course, a Department of Homeland Security official told the Daily News that reports about the number of immigration-related arrests Thursday were "grossly exaggerated", but I wouldn't put it past this administration to be conducting the type of covert operations being described.

Jennie Pasquarella, director of immigrants rights for the ACLU in California, told the L.A. Times that this week's actions weren't necessarily indicative of a hard line shift under the Trump administration, though "she did express concerns about reports that some undocumented immigrants without criminal histories were caught up in the week-long operation".

President pro Tempore of the California State Senate Kevin de Leon also challenged the motivation of the operation and those being targeted for arrest.

Advocates from United We Dream, the Center for Community Change and Make the Road reported on Friday that they had received reports of arrests in Florida, California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, New York and Kansas. "I'm demanding that ICE provide me, the representative of this community, with more information and the goal of these raids".

The operation is on-going in several states. ICE officials say that as of Friday night, 37 of those arrested in LA have already been deported to Mexico.

"These reports show the serious consequences of the president's executive order, which allows all undocumented immigrants to be categorized as criminals and requires increased enforcement in communities, rather than prioritizing unsafe criminals", California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in a written statement.

Democrat leaders like Feinstein and Castro do not appear to have made similar protestations following this same ICE operation in March 2015.

In a Jan 25 decree, Trump prioritised the deportation of undocumented males who had been convicted of or "charged with any criminal offence", including misdemeanors.


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