Immigrant advocates decry spate of arrests in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Immigrant advocates on Friday decried a series of arrests that federal

deportation agents said aimed to round up criminals in Southern California but they believe mark a

shift in enforcement under the Trump administration.

Advocates began fielding calls Thursday from immigrants and their lawyers reporting raids at homes

and businesses in the greater Los Angeles area. In one instance, agents knocked on one door looking

for a man and ended up arresting another who is in the country illegally but has no criminal record

— something Angelica Salas, the executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of

Los Angeles, said would not likely have happened previously.

"This was not normal," Salas told reporters Friday.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested about 160 people during a five-day sweep in Southern

California aimed at immigrants with criminal histories and deportation orders, including a

Salvadoran gang member wanted in his country and a Brazilian drug trafficker.   

David Marin, ICE field office director for enforcement and removal operations in greater Los

Angeles, said the agency carries out these operations two or three times a year in his region.               

"These operations take weeks and sometimes months of planning, so this operation was in the planning

stages before the administration came out with their current executive orders," he told reporters.             

He said similar operations took place this week in Atlanta, New York and Chicago.               

Marin said 151 of those arrested in Southern California had criminal records. He said five people

would not have met the Obama administration's enforcement priorities but were arrested because they

were found to be in the country illegally.               

The announcement of the arrests comes days after an Arizona woman was arrested and deported to

Mexico after what she thought was a routine check in with immigration officials and amid heightened

anxiety among immigrant communities since Trump signed an executive order to expand deportations.         

A decade ago, immigration officers searching for specific individuals would often arrest others

found along the way, a practice that drew criticism from advocates. Under the Obama administration,

agents also carried out arrests but focused more narrowly on specific individuals.               

In the suburbs of Los Angeles, 50-year-old house painter Manuel Mosqueda was there when his fiancé

answered the door, thinking it was police, his 21-year-old daughter Marlene said.               

"They were looking for someone else and they took my dad in the process," she said.             

Karla Navarrete, a lawyer for CHIRLA, said she sought to stop Mosqueda from being placed on a bus to

Mexico and was told by ICE that things had changed. She said another lawyer filed federal court

papers to halt his removal.               

Salas said the agency provided scant details to lawyers who headed to the detention center in

response to the phone calls, and in the past was more forthcoming with information.          

She also said there is increased anxiety in the community about immigration enforcement since

Trump's order.        

Democratic state lawmakers denounced the arrests and urged immigrants to know their rights and what

to do if approached by federal authorities.          

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,

broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content