LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) —About 100 people were arrested in the Los Angeles area during a four-day nationwide immigration sweep targeting so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, federal authorities announced Thursday.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said “Operation Safe City,” which ended Wednesday, targeted people who have “violated U.S. immigration laws, prioritizing aliens with criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, known gang members and affiliates, immigration fugitives and those who re-entered the U.S. after deportation.”
The agency noted that agents targeted regions “where ICE deportation officers are denied access to jails and prisons to interview suspected immigration violators or jurisdictions where ICE detainers are not honored.”
“Sanctuary jurisdictions that do not honor detainers or allow us access to jails and prisons are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration,” ICE Acting Director Tom Homan said. “As a result, ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities.”
Nobody registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which provides protection from deportation for people brought to the country illegally as children by their parents — were targeted in the operation, officials said.
The California Legislature approved a “sanctuary state” bill earlier this month that limits how local and state police can interact with federal immigration agents. However, it has not yet been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill is intended to bolster immigrant protections in the state that are already among the toughest in the nation.
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Following sharp dissent from law enforcement officials — including Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell – it was scaled back significantly. McDonnell has praised the revised bill as “very different.” Back in March, McDonnell had said he feared SB5 54 would force ICE agents into the communities.
Sanctuary cities in the Southland include San Bernardino, Santa Ana and Malibu. In early August, Sessions moved to punish San Bernardino and three other so-called sanctuary cities, threatening to deny them federal crime-fighting resources if they don’t step up efforts to help detain and deport people living in the country illegally. However, earlier this month a federal judge in Chicago ruled that Sessions cannot follow through with his threat to withhold public safety grant money.
ICE officials said 101 people were arrested in the Los Angeles area, out of 498 nationally. Other raids were conducted in Santa Clara County; Baltimore; Cook County, Illinois; Denver; New York; Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and the state of Massachusetts.
The most arrests, 107, were made in Philadelphia, followed by Los Angeles with 101.
According to ICE, among those arrested in Los Angeles was a documented gang member who entered the country illegally and rammed multiple law enforcement vehicles while trying to evade authorities. He was found to be in possession of a loaded handgun, and is facing charges including assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed firearm.
The 498 people arrested in the operation came from 42 countries, according to ICE.
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