Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently completed a massive multi-state enforcement operation targeting criminal aliens that resulted in the arrests of 364 individuals. Of those, 187 (51 percent) had prior criminal convictions and 97 had been previously removed from the United States.
This took place across the six states within the Chicago area of responsibility. A plurality of those arrested were encountered in Illinois, identified by the Center as a sanctuary state.
While nationals from 25 countries were arrested, the majority (64 percent) were Mexican nationals.
Although ICE does arrest all illegal aliens it encounters during the execution of an enforcement action, the majority in this case had prior criminal convictions. That is in line with the most recent data, which shows that a majority of ICE arrests in FY 2017 and in YTD FY 2018 were criminal aliens.
Ninety-seven of those arrested had been previously removed from the United States and subsequently re-entered, which is a felony. Sanctuary jurisdictions, such as the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago/Cook County make it significantly easier for illegal aliens to avoid detection by immigration authorities.
The Midwest has been a frequent target of increased enforcement activity, which could indicate a reaction to many counties having adopted sanctuary policies. In May, ICE arrested 78 individuals in the Midwest states of Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota. That same month, ICE conducted Operation Keep Safe, which resulted in the arrest of 156 criminal aliens and immigration violators in Chicago.