California Roundups Top This Week in America’s Immigration Enforcement
From multiple raids across the Golden State to foiling smuggling attempts at U.S.-Mexico border, officers worked overtime to keep country as safe as possible
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers made big headlines last week with raids in northern California in direct confrontation with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who publicly warned illegal immigrants federal agents might be coming.
But that was hardly the only significant action immigration law enforcement officers took over the past week. From immigration raids in the interior to thwarting smuggling attempts at the border, immigration officials had a typically busy week.
Here are some highlights:
1.) San Francisco Bay Area raids. ICE officials say they arrested 232 people in a four-day operation. The arrests included 180 who were convicted criminals, had final deportation orders, or previously had been deported.
The 115 with prior convictions had felony rap sheets that included such offenses as child sex crimes, weapons violations, assault, and significant or multiple misdemeanors.
ICE authorities said they concentrate on illegal immigrants who pose threats to national security and public safety. But in a departure from Barack Obama’s administration, ICE no longer exempts illegal immigrants who get swept up in raids.
Officials from the agency also blasted “sanctuary” policies adopted by California that severely limit state and local cooperation with ICE. As a result, ICE officials said, they have no choice but to conduct roundups in neighborhoods and job sites. The result, they added, is that a greater number of illegal immigrants who do not fall into the top enforcement priorities likely will also be caught up in the raids and deported.
“Ultimately, efforts by local politicians have shielded removable criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and created another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect,” ICE said in a news release.
2.) Arrests in Kansas City. ICE arrested 20 illegal immigrants in the Kansas City area during a four-day sweep.
Several of those illegal immigrants had criminal records for charges including driving under the influence of alcohol, child abuse, fraud, and larceny. Four were in America after a previous deportation, which is a felony. Two came legally but remained illegally after their visas expired.
The arrests included:
- A 55-year-old Mexican citizen who overstayed a visa by more than 12 years. Arrested in Johnson County, Kansas, she previously was convicted of child neglect and sentenced to a year in jail.
- A 38-year-old Mexican citizen arrested in Olathe, Kansas. He has a 2012 conviction for fraud.
Ricardo Wong, the Enforcement and Removal Operations field office director in Chicago, said in a statement the raids underscore the agency’s commitment to public safety.
“As part of this operation, we continue focus on the arrest of individuals who are criminal aliens and public safety threats,” he stated. “Because of the tireless efforts of these professional officers, there are fewer criminals in our communities.”
3.) Smuggling attempts foiled. U.S. Border Patrol agents foiled two attempts to smuggle illegal immigrants across the southwest border.
Agents near Yuma, Arizona, arrested three American citizens and nine Mexicans on Monday and Tuesday, authorities said.
On Monday, five people illegally crossed the border west of the Buttercup Sand Dunes in Imperial County, California. Border Patrol agents stopped a vehicle driven by a 33-year-old man and arrested him and his five passengers. Authorities charged the driver with human smuggling, and the five Mexicans with illegal re-entry, a felony.
The next day, four people crossed the border in roughly the same spot and got into a car driven by an American citizen. The driver and passenger face human smuggling charges. Authorities charged four Mexicans with illegal re-entry.
4.) Nine arrested in Indiana. ICE arrested nine illegal immigrants, including six in Elkhart, two in South Bend, and one in Fort Wayne.
ICE authorities targeted several of those arrested because of prior criminal convictions on offenses such as felony drug violations and possession of fraudulent identification documents. One of these arrested was a fugitive; three re-entered after previous deportations.
Those taken into custody included:
- A 57-year-old Mexican man who previously had been deported. He was convicted of felony drug charges and was sentenced to four years in prison.
- A 34-year-old Mexican man arrested in Elkhart. He has two criminal convictions on his record, including possessing fraudulent government identification. ICE is detaining him pending an appearance before an immigration judge.
Wong stated that removing criminals from the streets makes the community safer.
“This operation focused on targeting immigration fugitives and criminal aliens in northern Indiana, but we routinely conduct operations daily,” he stated.
5.) Customs agents catch impostor. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport on Friday arrested a man from Cameroon accused of posing as a South African citizen.
The man, whose name was withheld because he does not face criminal charges, is 26 years old and arrived on a flight from Turkey, authorities said. He gave customs officers a South African passport and U.S. travel visa under the name of a South African citizen.
But the customs officer suspected the man might be an impostor and referred him for a secondary examination, authorities said. During that questioning, officers noted that the man had a West African accent and discovered receipts under a different man’s name in his baggage.
The man eventually admitted that he was from Cameroon and moved to South Africa several years ago for work, according to authorities. He said he bought a passport and visa travel document.
“Customs and Border Protection reminds travelers that intentionally violating United States immigration laws face severe consequences, including in this case, a long-term refusal from returning to the U.S., and potential criminal prosecution,” CBP Dulles area port director Daniel Mattina said in a prepared statement. “There are legal ways to travel or immigrate to the United States, and using another person’s travel documents isn’t one of those lawful ways.”