More than 200 people have been arrested by immigration agents this week for violating federal immigration laws. "Notices of inspection" were also served to 122 businesses in the Los Angeles area.
The five-day operation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ended on Thursday.
``Because sanctuary jurisdictions like Los Angeles prevent ICE from arresting criminal aliens in the secure confines of a jail, our officers are forced to conduct at-large arrests in the community, putting officers, the general public and the aliens at greater risk and increasing the incidents of collateral arrests,'' said ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan.
At least 195 of those arrested were convicted criminals and had been issued a final order of removal after failing to leave the United States, or had been previously removed and returned illegally.
More than half of the arrestees had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses like, child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault. Leads on arrests were generated by field agents in conjunction with the Pacific Enforcement Response Center.
"ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,'' an ICE statement said.
"However, ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States,'' the statement said.
Individuals who have deportation orders already, or have returned to the United States after being deported can be immediately removed from the country. Some of the individuals will face federal criminal prosecutions for re-entering the country.
Another 122 "notices of inspection" were served to Los Angeles-area businesses, alerting owners that ICE intends to audit their books to determine whether or not they've complied with immigration law.
Andrew Mollenbeck reports:
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