Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
U.S. | By Wayne Curry

Over 680 Arrested in US Immigration Raids, Rights Groups Alarmed

Over 680 Arrested in US Immigration Raids, Rights Groups Alarmed

USA immigration officers last week arrested more than 680 people in the country illegally, the homeland security chief said on Monday, in a broad enforcement action that alarmed immigrant rights groups. WGN reports a small group of demonstrators gathered at ICE headquarters in the Loop Monday to protest the arrest of undocumented immigrants.

On the campaign trail Mr Trump promised to deport three million illegal immigrants.

Kelly repeated Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials' claim that the arrests were "routine".

Those caught by immigration authorities for the first time will enter the country's immigration court system, where an immigration judge will ultimately decide whether to order them deported.

Immigration officials put out their own statement that says "ICE regularly conducts targeted enforcement operations during which additional resources and personnel are dedicated to apprehending deportable foreign nationals".

David Marin, director of enforcement and removal operations for ICE in Los Angeles, said the actions taken this week were planned before Trump took office and were comparable to a similar weeklong operation taken last summer that resulted in 200 arrests. Of the 41 people arrested in NY city and surrounding areas, 93% had criminal convictions, while 45% of the 51 people arrested in the San Antonio, Texas area did.

The enforcement of the order by US President Donald Trump that illegal immigrants be fished out started over the weekend across the country. "They're terrified", Gerry Chapman said.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday he will ask ICE for more information about the arrests - including the locations and more details about the people detained - and called reports that ICE targeted non-violent immigrant families "deeply disturbing". Of those, 58 percent had prior criminal convictions-though the statistics do not elaborate about the severity of those crimes.

'We are going to get the bad ones.

The Secretary did not specify how numerous detained immigrants have been deported nor whether they face trial in the United States for their crimes.

Field offices in Los Angeles, San Antonio, Chicago, Atlanta and New York City released 13 examples of people ICE took into custody last week, including one who was a "self-admitted MS-13 gang member" and one who was wanted for murder and attempted murder in Mexico.

"ICE does not conduct sweeps, checkpoints or raids that target aliens indiscriminately".

He said the operation also targeted people who have violated immigration laws.

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