Immigration officials arrested approximately 367 illegal aliens in raids across the country. Accomplishing last week nearly one raid per day, officers started out on April 3 with a raid that yielded 153 illegal aliens in the southern part of Texas as part of a 12-day operation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
 
Then on April 4, ICE arrested 75 individuals during three days in north Texas. In the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, and Virginia, 113 individuals were picked up during two distinct three-day operations. On April 6, 26 individuals were arrested in Colorado and Wyoming over a four-day period.
 
According to ICE, these raids focused on “criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives.”
 
In New York, 30 of 31 persons arrested there had criminal records. Of these, 12 had DUIs, four had charges related to drug possession, one had a heroin charge, while four had fraud charges.  
 
Under the Obama administration, persons charged with DUIs were considered to be a second-tier priority for deportation. But under the Trump administration, they are admitted to be a threat to public safety. The Department of Homeland Security prioritizes for deportation any immigrants charged with any criminal offense, including those charged but not convicted. This may mean that there are five-times more immigrants targeted for deportation now than under the Obama administration. This innovation was introduced in a February memo from DHS Secretary John Kelly.
 
Immigrant rights advocates contend that the raids have had the effect among immigrants of suppressing reports of criminal activity. For example, the Los Angeles Police Department has reported that there has been a 25 percent drop in reports of sexual assault coming from the Latino community recently. Houston police say the number of Latinos reporting rape decreased by nearly 43 percent from January to March of this year when compared to the same time period last year.


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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