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27 May 2017, 10:18 | Amanda Barker
Paul J. Richards Getty Images
ICE officials in Southern California arrested almost 200 persons Thursday, most of whom had prior criminal convictions.
Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) division say of those arrested, 169, or nearly 90 percent, had prior criminal convictions, primarily drug offenses, DUIs and domestic violence.
An ICE agent makes an arrest on May 23, 2017, as part of a five-day operation in Southern California.
The other quarter of the total, numbering 10,845, have no criminal convictions and could have been arrested, as Kelly said, for reasons including multiple illegal re-entries into the country and refusing to check in with ICE officials. "169, or nearly 90 percent, had prior criminal convictions", a statement from the agency read.
Authorities said the latest crackdown led to the arrest of a 29-year-old Salvadoran national convicted of rape in California and a previously deported 51-year-old Mexican man who had been convicted of cocaine trafficking.
"Some of these risky individuals had been released to the streets instead of being turned over to ICE or our detainers, which compromises the safety of the homeland that ICE officers strive to protect every day", ERO Philadelphia Acting Field Office Director Jennifer Ritchey said in the release.
All three had active immigration detainers at the time they were in the custody of the Philadelphia Police Department, Ritchey said, but were released instead of being held for ICE.
Of the recent Southern California arrests, eight people face federal prosecution for returning to the US illegally after being deported. "This administration has made clear we are a nation of immigrants but we are also a nation of laws".
Twenty-three of the arrests were made in Orange County, immigration officials said. The majority, 146 people, were listed as being from Mexico, the statement said.
Memos put out by the Trump administration in his first weeks in office adjusted priorities for immigration enforcement officers, enabling them to arrest more broadly - virtually every undocumented immigrant in the U.S. entering the purview.
Federal authorities say over 41,000 people have been arrested since the beginning of this year, a 40 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016.
An individual being arrested by an ICE officer during this week's raids. Seventy-three percent of those arrested during that period this year are convicted criminals. "He's been a valued member of his family and community for decades and they seem to be going after people for a conviction that's as old as 1992".
The remaining individuals not facing criminal prosecutions will be processed for removal from the country.
Los Angeles county carried the most arrests, with 93 instances.
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