In two separate enforcement operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 235 criminal aliens. Many of those arrested had prior criminal records and were known by ICE to be public safety concerns.
The first operation took place in San Diego, a self-described sanctuary city, and the surrounding counties, reflecting ICE's continued and necessary targeting of California's defiant sanctuary policies. This operation netted 115 arrests, 50 of whom were previously convicted criminals and seven of whom had illegally re-entered the United States after previously being deported. The operation ended on March 15.
Referencing the state's sanctuary policies, ICE released an official statement within the report, which said that "state laws in California force ICE to focus additional resources to conduct at-large arrests in the community, putting officers, the general public and aliens at greater risk and increase the incidents of collateral arrests." (Emphasis added.)
Ironically, California's refusal to cooperate with federal immigration priorities ensures that ICE agents will inevitably detain more non-targeted illegal aliens (collateral arrests) by catching them in at-large enforcement operations. If California allowed ICE to detain criminal aliens at jails and courthouses, the number of collateral arrests would almost certainly decrease.
The second operation took place in Texarkana, Ark., which targeted an illegal cockfighting organization that was the subject of a joint investigation by ICE, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Arkansas State Police, and Arkansas Fish and Wildlife. This operation took place on March 17, 2018.
The report indicated that "agents expected 30-40 individuals to attend the event and suggested a portion of those attendees to be illegal aliens. Upon execution of the search warrant, agents encountered an overwhelming 134 people attending the event, 120 were taken into custody."
The ICE HSI Texarkana field office is in the process of identifying all of the 120 suspects. This will include checking each individual's immigration records to determine if they are in the United States illegally. Given that the warrant "suspected a portion of those attendees to be illegal aliens", it is likely that many of those arrested will face deportation proceedings in the future.
Interestingly, the report noted that "interviews of those arrested have resulted in several worksite enforcement leads and worksite I-9 audits are being planned because of information and evidence gathered from this event." This reflects ICE's newfound energy in targeting worksites that knowingly hire illegal aliens.
In the span of a few days, ICE agents in California and Arkansas arrested 235 individuals for both criminal offenses and immigration violations. This follows a series of large-scale operations in California and elsewhere. In March, a Northern California operation resulted in the arrest of 150 aliens in three days, and in February a two-state operation netted 357 individuals. This exhibits ICE's determination to enforce the nation's federal immigration laws despite the actions of sanctuary jurisdictions.