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ICE Arrests Nearly 200 Illegal Immigrants In Los Angeles Raids

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Immigration authorities have arrested nearly 200 criminal aliens in a five-day operation across the Los Angeles area, including dozens with prior convictions for sex crimes and domestic violence.

Fugitive operations officers for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) nabbed a total of 188 people in a sweep targeting at-large criminal aliens, and immigration fugitives, and individuals who had illegally re-entered the U.S. after being deported.

Of the those arrested, 169 — about 90 percent — had prior criminal convictions for a variety of crimes, the agency said Thursday. The most common prior offenses were drug violations, comprising 43 of those arrested, followed by DUI and domestic violence, with 30 and 27 arrests, respectively.

“Operations like this are emblematic of the vital work ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations officers do every day seeking to locate, arrest, and ultimately deport at-large convicted criminals and other immigration fugitives who pose a threat to public safety,” David Marin, field office director for ICE’s enforcement and removal division in Los Angeles, said in a statement.

“By taking these individuals off the streets and removing them from the country, we’re making our communities safer for everyone,” he added.

Illegal immigrants from Mexico made up the vast majority of those arrested in the operation, which took place across six counties in the L.A. metro area. ICE agents arrested 146 Mexican nationals — 78 percent of all individuals detained — followed by 13 from El Salvador and 12 from Guatemala. About half of all the arrests occurred in L.A. County.

ICE arrested 19 individuals who had no prior criminal convictions, according to agency figures. Officials say that deportation officers conduct “targeted enforcement operations” that prioritize aliens with criminal backgrounds, but that anyone present in the country without authorization may also be arrested during the sweeps.

“During targeted enforcement operations ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws,” the agency said. “Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.”

The 188 arrests made this week are in line with the scope of similar operations that ICE occasionally carries out in the area, reports the Los Angeles Times. More than 150 people were arrested during a week-long sweep in February, and before that ICE arrested 112 people in a multi-day operation in July.

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