ICE Arrests 51 in Austin During Two-Day Op

Source   Spencer Platt  Getty Images News  Getty Images

But immigration activists say this week's raids aren't limited to safety threats - they have also targeted people who have changed their lives around and contributed to their communities, as well as people without proper documentation who have been swept up in "collateral" arrests but have not committed any other crimes.

Among those arrested was a citizen of Mexico in IN who has previous criminal convictions for domestic battery, aggravated criminal sexual abuse with a victim under 13 and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a family member.

The enforcement activities have sparked protests in many parts of the country, but ICE officials said Monday that the agency has conducted similar national efforts since 2011. "There is a heightened fear from communities where if they see law enforcement, whether it's ICE or not, it feeds into people's fear that they're coming out to get them".

"As an American citizen, I would much rather the government go after the big fish than the little fish", said Owings.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued a statement Monday, saying the raids were directed by the Trump Administration and were focused in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, and New York City.

The ICE operations are the first to take place since President Trump issued his January 26 executive order expanding the priorities for enforcement.

Immigration officials acknowledged that as a result of Trump's executive order, authorities had cast a wider net than they would have previous year, said the report.

Advocacy groups reported a sharp increase in the number of raids last week, sparking fears among undocumented immigrants living in the country that they could be deported.

According to Kelly, ICE regularly conducts these sort of actions and they are consistent with the "routine" arrests ICE agents make on a daily basis.

However, David Marin, field office director for ICE enforcement removal operations in Los Angeles, said the sweeps had been planned before Trump took office. "We have to recognize that", said Ajin.

Kelly released a formal statement Tuesday to fully explain the "series of targeted enforcement operations across the country".

A spokesperson for Homeland Security said ICE does not conduct raids that target aliens indiscriminately.

Frank Sharry of America's Voice said, "we're back to the bad old days in which the term criminal means someone who is here without papers trying to survive".

Illegal immigrant advocates on the other hand are scampering to make sure that those arrested were given lawyers for their defense.

The majority of those arrested last week had criminal records but some were for misdemeanour crimes, such as traffic violations.

Related News: