Immigration authorities recently arrested 10 undocumented men in Santa Barbara County as part of a five-day raid in Southern California. Of those, U.S. authorities said, nine had prior criminal convictions, including “DUI, re-entry after deportation, trespassing, drug trafficking, providing false identification, illegal entry, [and] escape.”
“All we believe are deportable,” said Virginia Kice, spokesperson with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), “including eight who had been previously removed.” The only person arrested without a criminal record, Kice said, was a Mexican national who had been previously deported and illegally re-entered the U.S. He will go before an immigration judge. All but one was from Mexico, and most were detained near their residences. Kice declined to elaborate on details of the cases or provide identifications of those detained, citing department policy.
Sheriff’s custody chief Vincent Wasilewski said they have no way of knowing whether or not ICE agents picked up the individuals immediately after they were released from jail. However, he noted, ICE officials stated they were targeting individuals who were “at large” and likely not in custody.
During the five-day “expanded enforcement operation” that concluded on Wednesday, ICE agents arrested 188 individuals in Southern California. Of those, 43 were drug offenses, 30 DUIs, 27 domestic violence, 15 sex crimes, and 12 battery charges, among others, according to the department. Most were from Mexico but other countries of origin included El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Armenia, and Russia.
President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration enforcement issued in February gives ICE agents broader discretion when arresting undocumented individuals. Specifically, the policy stated, “ … [Department of Homeland Security] will not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.” For instance, ICE agents can now arrest other individuals they happen to encounter during a raid.
“Criminals with violent histories will continue to be a priority for ICE,” Kice said. “This administration has made clear we are a nation of immigrants but we are also a nation of laws. Those individuals should be subject to enforcement.”