LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A man with an attempted murder conviction and a woman who has seven convictions for driving under the influence were among 150 people arrested this week in the Southland by federal immigration agents, authorities said Wednesday.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said the raid targeted “criminal aliens” and other immigration violators, but decried “the lack of cooperation from local jails is negatively impacting public safety.”
About 40 percent of those arrested in the sweep – which took place between Sunday and Tuesday – had previously been released by local law enforcement agencies despite ICE detainers asking arresting agencies to notify immigration officers prior to the suspect’s release from custody, according to the ICE officials.
Nearly all arrestees had prior criminal convictions, authorities said.
“All of the operations that we do are targeted enforcement operations so our officers have a target and we’re out there looking for these individuals in these communities,” said Thomas Giles, acting field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Los Angeles.
Of the 150 arrests, 76 took place in Los Angeles County, 34 in Orange County, and 16 in Riverside County. The arrestees — 138 men and 12 women — are from a dozen countries, with the 123 of them from Mexico, according to ICE.
“Their crimes ranged from multiple DUIs, attempted murder, sexual assault cases, cruelty toward children, cruelty toward spouses, domestic violence,” Giles said.
In interviews with reporters at the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles, Giles said he wanted to clarify “the misconception that ICE goes out there and does random raids and sweeps and just picks people up.”
According to Giles, agents performed surveillance and background checks before making arrests.
He pointed to Senate Bill 54, the so-called “sanctuary state” bill — which, among other things, prohibits state and local law enforcement from using resources to investigate or arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes.
“The state laws preventing ICE from working in the jails is significantly impacting public safety by letting serious repeat offenders back out onto our streets,” Giles said. “Our presence would be focused in the jails, rather than in the streets, and safer for all involved, if ICE could again coordinate transfers of criminal aliens with local jails.”
Officials said the arrestees were from a dozen different countries, but a majority were from Mexico.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)