Over 240 illegally present foreign nationals, including previously deported sexual offenders, were taken into custody over the course of four days last week when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials out of the Los Angeles area conducted an operation in California’s Southland.
Every one of the 244 illegal aliens apprehended during the operation had prior criminal convictions. 56 percent of those were for serious or violent felonies including child sex crimes, weapons charges and drug offenses, according to ICE.
Four of those apprehended in the raid were identified as previously deported criminals. At least three were sexual offenders. Two were convicted for sex crimes against children, according to ICE.
The 244 illegal aliens apprehended hail from 21 countries including Peru, Thailand, France and Ghana. The largest contingent, however, was Mexican nationals, comprising 191 of those taken into custody.
Not all of those apprehended are certain to be removed from the United States. Those not being criminally prosecuted or without previously standing orders of removal will either face a hearing before an immigration judge or be removed in the future, pending travel arrangements.
Each of the targets in last week’s operation meets one of the Department of Homeland Security’s top two tiers for immigration enforcement priority. According to an ICE release, “Priority 1 targets include threats to national security, criminal street gang members, convicted felons, and aggravated felons. Priority 2 targets include convictions for three or more misdemeanors or convictions for significant misdemeanors, including DUIs.”
David Jennings, field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Los Angeles said, “By taking these individuals off our streets and removing them from the country, we are making our communities safer for everyone.”
“One of the challenges we’re facing is because of state law and local policies, more individuals who are potentially deportable with significant criminal histories are being released onto the street instead of being turned over to ICE,” agency spokeswoman Virginia Kice told the Los Angeles Times. “I think to infer from [the sweep] that potentially foreign nationals are committing more crimes is flawed.”
The raid follows an increase in public attention on illegal alien criminal activity. Earlier this year the nation took note as a young woman in her early 30s was killed at a San Francisco pier. Five-time deportee, seven-time felon Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez has been charged in her death. Lopez-Sanchez has said that he chose San Francisco for its sanctuary city policies.
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