Washington, DC – The United States Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly issued a statement today (Feb. 13) after the country witnessed a new wave of deportations of illegal aliens as Federal immigration authorities launched raids and other actions in several states.
Accepting the fact that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a series of targeted enforcement operations across the country,” Kelly explained, “These operations targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.”
Secretary Kelly said, “ICE officers in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City areas of responsibility arrested more than 680 individuals who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system.”
“Of those arrested, approximately 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges,” noted Kelly.
Brushing aside the latest extra media coverage the raids were getting now, Kelly said, “ICE conducts these kind of targeted enforcement operations regularly and has for many years. The focus of these enforcement operations is consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis.”
Kelly cited the utterances of President Donal Trump who “has been clear in affirming the critical mission of DHS in protecting the nation and directed our Department to focus on removing illegal aliens who have violated our immigration laws, with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety, have been charged with criminal offenses, have committed immigration violations or have been deported and re-entered the country illegally.”
Commending the work of the ICE officials, Kelly said, “There is no greater calling than to serve and protect our nation – a mission that the men and women of ICE perform with professionalism and courage every single day.”
Earlier the raids by ICE were reported in California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Kansas while DHS Secretary Kelly toured the border states. Secretary Kelly met with federal, state and local law enforcement officials including at San Diego’s San Ysidro port of entry, the nation’s busiest border crossing.
Highlighting that the ICE raids were planned while Barack Obama was still president, and similar ICE raids occurred in 2015, Ravi Batra, eminent lawyer and Chair, National Advisory Council, South Asian Affairs, told IAT, “What’s different is that the public is activated since the ill-advised Bannon-effected Travel Ban of January 27, 2017, which was legally and constitutionally dead-on-arrival.”
The reported ICE operations came on the heels of President Trump issuing his January 26 executive order expanding the priorities for enforcement. During his campaign, Trump promised to deport 2 to 3 million immigrants with criminal records. Immigration experts, however, say that while DHS estimates there are 1.9 million “removable criminal aliens” in the United States, only about 690,000 are in this country illegally and have been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor.