Nearly 500 people across the United States were arrested for federal immigration violations in an operation targeting so-called sanctuary cities, officials said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement that its four-day “Safe City” operation “focused on cities and regions where ICE deportation officers are denied access to jails and prisons to interview suspected immigration violators or jurisdictions where ICE detainers are not honored.”
The operation saw 498 individuals from 42 countries arrested for federal immigration violations, ICE said.
Areas targeted in the “Safe City” operation included New York; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Portland, Ore.; Philadelphia; Denver and Baltimore.
The entire commonwealth of Massachusetts was also named, and counties that were targeted included Cook County, Ill., where Chicago is located, as well as Santa Clara County, Calif.
The areas named had not fully complied with President Trump’s aggressive deportation policies, according to ICE.
ICE Acting Director Tom Homan said in a statement that sanctuary jurisdictions “are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration.
“As a result, ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities.”
The names of those arrested were not released, but ICE said that of the 498 immigrants arrested, 317 had been convicted of crimes and 104 are “previously deported criminal aliens.”
Returning to the U.S. after deportation is a felony.
Eighty-six of the convictions noted in ICE’s statement were for driving under the influence. Eighteen individuals arrested in the operation were accused of belonging to or having affiliations with gangs.
An ICE spokeswoman said that the convictions chart in their statement details each individual’s most serious crime and not all of the crimes in all the criminal histories.
Authorities said 181 of those arrested were classified as “noncriminal.”
Officials also noted that individuals with an active DACA status were not targeted for arrest.
A spokeswoman for the agency said their initial review shows there were no arrests of active DACA recipients, “however, it’s possible that individuals were arrested who had expired DACA or individuals with criminal histories that would void their DACA.”
DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows some individuals who entered the country as minors, and had either entered or remained in the country illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation.
Those enrolled in the program created by DACA are also eligible for a work permit.
ICE said in its statement that those “who have outstanding orders of removal, or who returned to the United States illegally after being removed, are subject to immediate removal from the country.”
“The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future,” the statement read.