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DHS says 75 percent of those detained in ICE raids last week were ‘criminal aliens’

Photo by Bryan Cox/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security released a report Monday saying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted a series of "targeted enforcement operations" across the country last week. The immigration raids led to the arrest of more than 680 people in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City.

"These operations targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges," DHS Secretary John Kelly said in an agency statement.

According to the DHS, roughly 75 percent of those detained by ICE "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."

While President Donald Trump, who on the campaign trail vowed to crack down on illegal immigration, took credit Sunday for the raids, many of the operations were planned on former President Barack Obama's watch.

For example, immigration officials arrested more than 160 people in Southern California Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The operations that led to their arrests were planned before Trump became president, David Marin, director of Enforcement and Removal Operations for ICE in Los Angeles, told the newspaper.

Marin also sought to quell media reports that seem to suggest there has been an uptick in ICE raids — a term the immigration agency is loath to embrace — since Trump entered the White House.

"The rash of these recent reports about ICE checkpoints and random sweeps and the like, it’s all false, and that’s definitely dangerous and irresponsible," he said. "Reports like that create panic, and they put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger."

Accusations that the White House is taking a hardline stance against illegal immigration follows Trump's Jan. 25 executive order, which significantly broadened the federal government's priorities when it comes to deportation.

The president's action calls for the removal of individuals who "have been convicted of any criminal offense," "have been charged with any criminal offense," "have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense" or "are subject to a final order of removal."

However, just to put things into context, it should be noted that — even only one month in — it appears Trump's DHS is on par with the numbers reported under the Obama administration.

In fiscal year 2016, the DHS apprehended 530,250 people nationwide and found that 98 percent of enforcement actions "involved individuals classified within one of the three enforcement priority categories." Ninety-one percent of those were considered top priority, which includes national security threats, individuals apprehended at the border while trying to enter the U.S. illegally as well as convicted criminals and gang members.

And in fiscal year 2015, a total of 406,595 individuals were apprehended and, of those, 91 percent "were individuals who were previously convicted of a crime."

The Mexican government issued a warning last week, urging citizens living in the U.S. to "take precautions" as they face a "new reality" under the Trump administration.

"The entire Mexican community should take precautions and keep in touch with the nearest consulate, to obtain the necessary help to face this kind of situation," the statement read.

As TheBlaze previously reported, this statement from the United States' southern neighbor followed the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, an Arizona mother of two who had been living in the United States since she was 14 years old and was not previously perceived as a threat to American security.

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