United States immigration authorities arrested several hundred illegal immigrants during raids in at least six different states this week, the first under President Donald Trump.
According to the Washington Post, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrest immigrants in California, Illinois, Georgia, New York, South Carolina and North Carolina.
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Officials said the raids targeted known criminals, but they also netted some immigrants without criminal records, an apparent departure from similar enforcement waves during the Obama administration. Last month, Trump substantially broadened the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target to include those with minor offenses or no convictions at all.
ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen told the post that the raids — which ICE likes to call "targeted enforcement actions" — were routine actions taken by immigration authorities to crack down on illegal immigration.
She explained that the raids were targeted at serious criminals from at least a dozen Latin American countries and included people who were convicted of serious crimes like murder.
"We’re talking about people who are threats to public safety or a threat to the integrity of the immigration system," she said.
In Los Angeles, for example, 75 percent of the 160 immigrants detained this week had felony convictions, David Marin, Los Angeles' field director, told the Post. Thirty-seven of those detained were deported back to Mexico, according to the Post.
Still, the Post reports that some noncriminal immigrants were detained because they were in the vicinities where authorities were sweeping for the criminal immigrants. No children were detained during the raids, an agent told the Post.