LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 162 undocumented immigrants during a three-day operation this week, which spanned the Southland.
The operation, which ran from Sunday through Tuesday, targeted undocumented immigrants with criminal records, along with those who had re-entered the country after being deported.
About 90 percent of those arrested had criminal records, ICE said.
Fifty-three of the 164 suspects had been previously placed on ICE detainers which were ignored by local law enforcement, the agency said in a news release. A detainer is request for local law enforcement agencies to notify ICE when an undocumented immigrant suspect is released from jail.
However, under California’s sanctuary state laws, local officials are barred from asking about a suspect’s immigration status or participating in immigration enforcement efforts.
The suspects included 157 men and five women. 129 of them were Mexican nationals, while the rest were from various countries including Guatemala and Honduras.
Those suspects not being prosecuted will be deported, ICE confirmed.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, whose leadership opposes the sanctuary laws, also reported Thursday that 45 convicted criminals with ICE detainers re-offended when they were released from O.C. jails between Jan. 1 and May 31 of this year. In total, 414 people with ICE detainers were released from O.C. jails during this time period.
Last October, Brown signed Senate Bill 54, the sanctuary state legislation that extends protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally.
The bill took effect Jan. 1. Under it, jail officials are only allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.
The Justice Department in early March sued the state of California, Gov. Brown and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, alleging California’s three sanctuary state laws (Senate Bill 54, Assembly Bill 450, Assembly Bill 103) interfere with federal immigration activities and “intentionally obstruct and discriminate” against the enforcement of federal immigration law.
In March, the O.C. Sheriff’s Department announced it was now providing public information on when inmates are released from custody. An existing “Who’s in Jail” online database includes the date and time of inmates’ release, a move agency officials say will enhance communication with its law enforcement partners. The release date information applies to all inmates, not just those who are suspected of being in the country illegally. But OCSD made it clear the goal is to assist ICE agents.
Since March, 10 Orange County cities have come out in opposition to the sanctuary state laws. They include Westminster, Orange, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Fountain Valley, San Juan Capistrano and Yorba Linda.
Last month, Santa Clarita became the first city in Los Angeles County to oppose it when its council voted unanimously to file a brief to opt out of the sanctuary state law.
Also in May, the council for the Riverside County city of Beaumont approved a resolution that declares Senate Bill 54 incompatible with federal law and, therefore, illegitimate.
The cities have either opted out of the laws or are joining the federal government in suing California. Several cities are attaching amicus briefs to the federal government’s lawsuit.
Orange County supervisors have also voted to join the lawsuit.