With a backdrop of illegal immigration as a top national political issue, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency today said it had swept up 244 people in Southern California who are here illegally and who are either criminals or immigrants who "pose a threat to public safety," according to a statement.
GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has pushed the issue to the top of the fold by proposing to build a wall at the Mexican border and by blaming those here without authorization for crime and economic malaise.
The Democratic administration of President Obama has been put between a rock and a hard place on the matter: Dems want the pro-immigrant Latino vote, but Obama doesn't want to leave himself open to criticism that he's been soft on criminal immigrants. Immigrant advocates have called Obama the "deporter in chief," and some have noted that he has spent more money on border security than any other president.
All this, of course, makes you wonder if today's announcement was a show of force for the campaign trail.
ICE says the weeklong stretch of arrests represents "a record number for a four-day ICE operation in the Southland."
A majority of those arrested had criminal records, including convictions for violent crimes, child sex crimes, weapons charges and narcotics, ICE stated. The others had convictions for "significant or multiple" misdemeanors, including drunk driving.
Four of the arrestees "are previously removed criminal individuals who are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for felony re-entry after removal from the U.S.," ICE said.
Of those collared, 191 are from Mexico, but 20 other countries, including Peru, Thailand, France and Ghana, were represented by alleged offenders. Ninety-nine of the arrestees were found in Los Angeles County, 55 in Orange County, 43 in San Bernardino County, 24 in Riverside County, 20 in Santa Barbara County and three in San Luis Obispo County, ICE stated.
Some of the really bad people, ICE said, include:
Vincente Onofre-Ramirez, a Mexican national convicted in 2002 in New York of sexual abuse with force. Onofre-Ramirez was removed from the U.S. after serving his sentence. The 35-year-old was taken into custody without incident Aug. 23 at his home in Santa Ana and made his initial appearance in federal court the following day.
Other criminal aliens detained during the enforcement action include a 46-year-old Guatemalan national arrested in Upland Aug. 26 who was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing two children. ERO officers also arrested a 50-year-old Salvadoran national in Sunland Aug. 23 who was convicted last year in Los Angeles County of two criminal counts involving child sex abuse.
Those who don't have to face a judge based on allegations of criminal misconduct in the United States will be "processed administratively" for deportation, ICE said.
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All of the suspects met ICE's top two priorities for enforcement, "threats to national security, criminal street gang members, convicted felons, and aggravated felons" and those with "convictions for three or more misdemeanors or convictions for significant misdemeanors, including DUIs," according to ICE's statement.
"This operation exemplifies ICE’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing convicted criminals and public safety threats for apprehension and removal," said David Jennings, a field office director in Los Angeles. "By taking these individuals off our streets and removing them from the country, we are making our communities safer for everyone."
Will this stop Trump's crazy wall talk? Of course not.