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Councilman: ICE conducting 'actions' in Austin

17 February 2017, 03:27 | Kevin Scott

Teresa Velazquez

Teresa Velazquez

David Marin, the field office director for Ice in Los Angeles, said the operation was planned before Barack Obama left office and that the majority of the people arrested had felony convictions.

Denise Gilman, who runs the immigration law clinic at the University of Texas, said there had definitely been an increase in ICE activity, based on reports from her contacts among immigrants and the people who represent them.

Atlanta Immigration Attorney Carolinia Antonini said Monday she supports immigration officers going after major offenders, like the cocaine distributor from Mexico who was arrested in metro Atlanta last week. The arrests, ICE officials claim, don't reflect a change in the status quo-which is also what a White House senior official told reporters last week.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the operations, conducted in at least a dozen states, were routine and consistent with regular operations carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. The previous administration also routinely detained and deported people without criminal records, making it harder to say whether a marked shift in enforcement under Trump is already underway. Social media posts falsely reported checkpoints at subway stops and intersections in high immigrant populations in Queens - rumors condemned by federal officials as even advocacy groups urged for calm.

"It's a horrific overreach that will separate families, destroy lives and undermine the American dream for US citizen children and immigrants alike", Sulma Arias of the Center for Community Change and Fair Immigration Reform Movement said on a call with reporters earlier Monday. Instead of highlighting the arrests as the begining of the deportation of millions, Kelly downplayed the arrests as normal, echoing other statements by spokesmen that all the arrests were routine and foolishly denying that ICE was conducting raids and roadblocks, instead insisting on the mealy mouthed term "targeted enforcement operations".

"This crackdown is putting lives at risk, destroying trust between communities and police", Sulma Arias of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement said.

"We have to set the tone", Salas says, "that this is not acceptable". Casar said the raids came because he believes, "ICE is out in public arresting people in order to retaliate against our community for standing up for our values against people like Abbott and Trump". He also has moved to deport immigrants convicted or charged with committing a crime, the target of this past week's surge.

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He said 75 per cent of the approximately 160 people detained in the LA operation had serious convictions - meaning the other 25 per cent had minor convictions or were undocumented.

In a January 25 executive order, Trump broadened an Obama-era priority enforcement system for immigrants subject to removal from the United States. "We know it's going on, we've seen video of it going on, we have families telling us it's going on, explain what's going on, that's what this community deserves", Council Member Garza said.

President Trump's executive order on the deportation of "criminal aliens" allows a person to be targeted for deportation over any crime.

Although ICE's immigration arrests under Trump do not appear to have intensified, his signing of an executive order that suggests ICE expands the criteria for what an undocumented immigrant should be targeted for arrest for. If ICE were doing raids "I would have a lot more than 41 people". Critics said arrests and deportations are bound to go up.

"At this point, we're just trying to calm people and provide accurate info", she said.

Officials with the Border Patrol, he added, "are not aware any of special operations of patrol agents picking people up and hauling them away".

"This thing about knocking on doors is ridiculous", he said. There is no way that ICE will deport 3 million illegal alien criminals if the Los Angeles District can only arrest 160 illegal aliens, in a region where there are 1 million or so illegal aliens in Los Angeles and Orange Counties alone.



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