Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested 84 people across San Diego County in a large-scale enforcement operation over the past two weeks.
ICE reported similar enforcement efforts across the country. ICE officers arrested 150 people around Los Angeles, 98 people in North Texas and Oklahoma, 105 in Michigan and Ohio and 83 in Wisconsin.
The timing of these operations was coincidental and not a coordinated effort, according to Gregory Archambeault, director of San Diego’s ICE field office.
“Our operations teams are out there on a daily basis targeting these folks,” Archambeault said. “If we get a backlog of cases, we’ll try to crack down a little bit and put more resources toward it so we can arrest these folks.”
It took a few weeks to plan the most recent operation, he said.
He attributed some of ICE’s case backlog to people who were released from jail instead of being turned over to the agency because of a California law that limits cooperation between local law enforcement and immigration officials. Twenty-two of the people arrested in the San Diego County operation, about 26%, fell into that category, he said.
About 30% of those arrested — 25 people — had criminal convictions, ICE said. And 55%— 46 people — had been ordered deported and either hadn’t left the U.S. or had been removed and came back.
“They had their day in court and failed to leave the country,” Archambeault said. “We’re going to continue targeting those people.”
Two of the people arrested were not targets of the operation, Archambeault said. They were collateral arrests, meaning that ICE officers found them while looking for someone else and found that they were in the U.S. without authorization.
Most of those arrested were from Mexico, Archambeault said, and people from Brazil, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Vietnam, Israel and Yemen were among those arrested.
In the agency’s announcement about the operation’s results, ICE highlighted the criminal histories of three people taken into custody, including a 38-year-old man from Mexico who has been removed from the U.S. four times. His criminal convictions include drug trafficking and driving under the influence, ICE said.
The man was charged with illegal reentry and will be prosecuted in federal criminal court. Two others arrested during the operation will be prosecuted, Archambeault said.
Morrissey writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune