ICE officers arrested 115 people — including 50 convicted criminals — in San Diego and Imperial counties this week on suspicion of violating federal immigration laws.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Friday that its agents rounded up the suspects over a three-day period that ended Thursday.
“This week’s operation targeted public-safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens, individuals with final orders of removal, those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and individuals who have otherwise violated our nation’s immigration law,” said Greg Archambeault, field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in San Diego.
Among those taken into custody during the sweep include:
- A 43-year-old Mexican national and Oceanside gang member who had previously been removed from the United States four times and has been convicted for various crimes, including grand theft, possessing a controlled substance for sale and driving while intoxicated.
- A 55-year-old citizen of Kazakhstan who is wanted by authorities in his home country for alleged tax evasion and embezzlement.
- A 52-year-old Mexican national sentenced to 30 months in federal prison in 2009 after being convicted of illegal re-entry after deportation. He has three criminal convictions for spousal abuse, including battery, inflicting injury and threatening to terrorize, was ordered removed by an immigration judge in 1998 and has been deported on 10 prior occasions.
Four of those arrested during the operation will face federal criminal prosecution for illegal re-entry after deportation, officials said. The detainees who are not being federally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States, and those who have outstanding orders of removal, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country.
The remainder are in ICE custody, awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future, according to the federal agency, which did not release the suspects’ identities.
“Operations like this reflect the vital work (ICE) officers do every day to protect the nation, uphold public safety and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls,” Archambeault said. “We will continue to conduct similar operations while seeking to ultimately deport at-large criminal targets and other immigration fugitives who pose a threat to public safety.”
The Trump administration has warned that ICE might target California for more immigration raids, citing the state’s laws creating “sanctuary” protection for undocumented immigrants. San Diego is not a “sanctuary city,” but other jurisdictions in Southern California are.
ICE maintains that it focuses on “individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security” and “does not conduct sweeps or raids that arrest aliens indiscriminately.”
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