LOS ANGELES (CN) — Immigration agents arrested 188 people in a five-day sweep in Southern California that the agency said targeted criminals, fugitives and people who reentered the country illegally.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that 159, or 90 percent of the 188 people arrested had previous convictions, including 29-year-old Salvadoran rapist and a 51-year-old Mexican drug trafficker who had been deported.
The five-day operation covered six Southland counties and included 93 arrests in the counties of Los Angeles, 26 in Riverside, 23 in Orange, 21 in San Bernardino, 14 in Ventura and 11 in Santa Barbara.
ICE said in a statement that since early in President Donald Trump’s presidency, it has arrested more than 41,000 people nationwide who were in the country illegally or believed to be so. ICE said that is a 40 percent increase over the same period in 2016, and that 75 percent of the people arrested had been convicted of a crime.
In the greater Los Angeles, ICE said, it has made 2,273 administrative arrests in the same period.
National Immigration Law Center staff attorney Mayra Joachin said that while ICE says it is protecting communities by arresting dangerous criminals, other immigrants are often caught up in such sweeps, including people who are merely present or have committed low-level offenses such as DUIs.
“The reality is that these operations affect not only individuals who have some type of criminal record but also individuals around them. So, oftentimes these arrests lead to collateral arrests where individuals may be apprehended simply because they happen to be there,” Joachin said in an interview.
Los Angeles city and county leaders have introduced a series of measures to combat the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck have said police officers will not aid or cooperate with federal agents’ deportation efforts.