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12 February 2017, 12:53 | Leonard Manning
Only five of 161 people arrested in Southern California would not have been enforcement priorities under the Obama administration, he said. The result has been a quick uptick in arrests, more people in detention centers, and an immigrant community that is more fearful of being deported.
Fear is running high among immigrant communities since President Donald Trump's inauguration - and after the recent publicized deportation of an undocumented Arizona mother of two after a routine visit with immigration officials, reports have been spreading of Immigration and Customs Enforcement stepping up its actions in the southwestern US.
Jennie Pasquarella, director of immigrants rights for the ACLU in California, told the L.A. Times that this week's actions weren't necessarily indicative of a hard line shift under the Trump administration, though "she did express concerns about reports that some undocumented immigrants without criminal histories were caught up in the week-long operation". "President Trump has already ignited widespread fear and confusion in our immigrant communities with his executive order and his divisive campaign rhetoric", Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement issued Friday.
Alexandria law enforcement was not aware of any ICE activity in the City prior to that activity occurring last night. There are roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the USA, and Trump has vowed to deport roughly three million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. Protests also took place in LA on Thursday and Friday.
Some activists in Austin and Los Angeles suggested that the raids might be retaliation for those cities' so-called "sanctuary city" policies.
However, an ICE official told the Los Angeles Times on condition of anonymity that claims that 100 people were arrested are "grossly exaggerated".
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Still, the Post reports that some noncriminal immigrants were detained because they were in the vicinities where authorities were sweeping for the criminal immigrants. As part of ICE's Operation Cross Check, officers conduct the nationwide operation by detaining unauthorized immigrants convicted of crimes in the country.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people took to the streets of New York City on Friday evening and in Los Angeles the day before to decry the move.
"The President wants to show off and it appears he has unleashed the Department of Homeland Security to kick-out large numbers of immigrants and anyone they encounter, without much oversight, review or due process", said Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
Federal immigration officials say 160 people were arrested across the Southland over the past week during a crackdown targeting "criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives".
"I am asking ICE to clarify whether these individuals are in fact risky, violent threats to our communities, and not people who are here peacefully raising families and contributing to our state", he said in a statement.
Marlene Mosqueda, who's father was picked up by ICE agents during the sweep, described her experience in a news conference: "It wasn't just my dad.it was someone else they came to [search for]". "It's chaotic", he said. "It would be speculation for me to even say whether I'd go this way or another until we can better understand it".
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