Seventy-five percent of the 680 illegal immigrants swept up for repatriation last week have committed crimes — such as murder — inside the United States, says a Feb. 13 statement from the new head of the Department of Homeland Security.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “officers in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City areas of responsibility arrested more than 680 individuals who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” said the statement from Secretary John Kelly.
“Of those arrested, approximately 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges,” he added.
Kelly’s statement reflects President Trump’s focus on near-term repatriation of up to 3 million foreign criminals, instead of repatriating all 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. According to Kelly:
President Trump has been clear in affirming the critical mission of DHS in protecting the nation and directed our Department to focus on removing illegal aliens who have violated our immigration laws, with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety, have been charged with criminal offenses, have committed immigration violations or have been deported and re-entered the country illegally.
On Sunday, Trump said the arrests were focused on criminals, not on illegal-immigrant workers.
The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017
The Kelly and Trump statements contradict claims by amnesty advocates that the arrests were aimed at illegal immigrants who had not committed additional crimes beyond immigration-related crimes, such as stealing Americans’ identification information for use in job applications.
“It’s a horrific overreach that will separate families, destroy lives and undermine the American dream for US citizen children and immigrants alike,” said a statement from Sulma Arias, field director of Center for Community Change. “Most of these people are not a threat. Those with no convictions are being picked up. Most are for minor crimes. The deportation punishment is mean and vindictive and un-American. It’s especially immoral because it serves no purpose other than for Trump to fulfill his racist promises to his base.”
“On Friday, ICE admitted that they arrested 160 individuals in a five-day sweep throughout 55 communities,” complained Angelica Salas, executive director of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. “Many of the 160 detained were non-violent offenders who were quickly deported before speaking with their loved ones. Let us not be fooled by the Trump Administration’s false depictions of immigrants. These deportation sweeps are creating great harm in our communities and separating families. It must stop.”
These groups usually oppose any repatriation, and refer to illegal immigrants as “immigrants,” as if they are part of the annual inflow of 1 million legal immigrants.