U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Tuesday that it made more than 2,000 arrests during a six-week nationwide operation in July and August that focused on those with criminal convictions and charges including sexual abuse and domestic violence.

As part of the operation, ICE agents made “at-large” arrests, which could take place at residences, worksites and traffic stops, across the country, including in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, where the ICE field office apprehended the most immigrants. ICE said the operation targeted undocumented immigrants and others subject to deportation who had been charged or convicted of a crime involving a victim.

Roughly 85% of those arrested had criminal convictions or charges ranging from assault and sexual offenses to domestic abuse and robbery, ICE said. Henry Lucero, the executive associate director of ICE who’s in charge of apprehensions, detention and deportations, said the rest of those arrested include immigrants who were ordered deported by an immigration judge but did not leave, those previously deported who had reentered the U.S. and so-called collateral arrests.


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The agency announced in March that it would focus on apprehending those with certain criminal records and those deemed to pose a threat to public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We never said we were going to stop arresting individuals,” Lucero said in a call with reporters. “We said we were going to prioritize and focus on those that are public safety threats. And that’s exactly what we did during this operation.”

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Lucero reiterated that the enforcement posture, which he said is still in place, does not exempt immigrants without criminal records from enforcement actions.

“We never stated we’re … going to stop arresting any type of immigration violator. We continue to arrest immigration violators. We use discretion when appropriate. That will remain in effect until further notice,” he said.

Data captured from July 13 to Aug. 20 shows that ICE officers arrested more than 2,000 at-large individuals living illegally in the U.S., or who are removable from the U.S. due to their criminal histories. About 85 percent of those arrested by ICE on immigration charges also had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.

According to an ICE press release:

Many had multiple criminal convictions and pending charges for crimes committed against victims. (Note: these numbers represent criminal charges and convictions, not individuals. Individuals can have multiple criminal charges and convictions.) Those crimes included:

  • 388 convictions and 386 pending charges for assault – including simple assault, battery against family and non-family members and assault against law enforcement;
  • 291 convictions and 216 pending charges for domestic violence;
  • 83 convictions and 64 pending charges for sexual offenses – including rape, sexual assault, indecent exposure and failure to register as a sex offender;
  • 136 convictions and 63 pending charges for family offenses – including neglect and cruelty towards a spouse or child;
  • 71 convictions and 40 pending charges for sexual offenses involving a minor;
  • 14 convictions and 12 pending charges for homicide – negligent manslaughter and murder;
  • 23 convictions and 44 pending charges for harassment – extortion, intimidation and harassing communications;
  • 29 convictions and 7 pending charges for hit-and-run;
  • 20 convictions and 10 pending charges for robbery;
  • 12 convictions and 2 pending charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor;
  • 9 convictions and 15 pending charges for kidnapping;
  • 11 convictions and 3 pending charges for identity theft;
  • 1 conviction and 1 pending charge for arson; and 1 conviction for rioting.

In concluding their report, the agency stated, “ICE continues to target criminal aliens and other public safety and national security threats every day. ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All those in violation of immigration law may be subject to arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States. ICE takes many factors into account when targeting and arresting individuals, including their criminal and immigration history.”


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