U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and special agents have arrested 212 people during a five-day sweep that ended Thursday throughout the Los Angeles area, according to a statement.
Of those arrested, 195 people were either convicted criminals, had been issued a final order of removal and did not depart, or had been previously removed and had returned. More than half of the people arrested had prior felony convictions or violent offenses that included child sex crimes and weapons charges.
Several reports from news outlets have said that the operation began last Sunday.
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations also served 122 notices of inspection to businesses in the Los Angeles area. The notices alert businesses that their hiring records will be audited.
While ICE states that they focus resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security, it no longer exempts classes or categories of undocumented people 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.
The operation was in conjunction with the Pacific Enforcement Response Center (PERC), which helped ICE develop leads.
“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 in the statement.
“Consistent with our public safety mission, 88 percent of those arrested during this operation were convicted criminals.”