ICE Surge in California Nets Illegal Aliens Despite Mayor’s Threats

A sweep by immigration enforcement agents in Northern California led to the arrest of 232 illegal aliens, including a number of foreign nationals who were charged or convicted of violent crimes in the past..

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) surge occurred despite a public warning issued prior to the enforcement action by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.  ICE officials said that they had planned to arrest 800 illegals, but Schaff’s warning obstructed their efforts since local police commanders and officers were told to stand down and not to turn over illegal alien criminals to the federal officers. .

“Schaaf is basically acting as a gang lookout notifying them when a police cruiser comes into the neighborhood. She actually did it to an entire city which is awfully close to aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise,” said a former police captain and county sheriff Douglas Wharton.

With President Donald Trump pushing for more effective security at U.S. borders and a dragnet on the estimated 12 million people living in the country illegally, he and U.S. Attorney General Bob Barr have ordered local police and sheriff departments to provide federal immigration agents complete access to jails and detention facilities. They wish these local cops to delay releasing immigrants from custody so that ICE agents can take custody of them to answer for federal charges and/or deportation back to their country of origin..

Local officeholders in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other left-leaning communities have loudly rebuffed the Trump administration’s demands, passing local laws or implementing policies that restrict what police can and cannot do for ICE agents.

Just this past week, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers arrested 20 criminal aliens and immigration violators during a five-day enforcement surge focused on immigration fugitives with a final removal order and a criminal conviction(s) or a criminal charge.

The week long operation was conducted throughout San Diego county in California by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in San Diego. According to officials in Gov. Gavin Newsome’s administration, the entire state of California is declared  a “sanctuary state.”

Of those arrested during this one operation, 85 percent had prior criminal convictions and/or prior criminal charges. Convictions for those arrested included drugs, weapons offenses, hit-and-run, driving under the influence, theft, domestic violence, evading law enforcement and fraud offenses.

“Targeted operations like this reflect the vital public service that ERO officers do every day to protect the nation, uphold public safety and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border control,” said Field Office Director Gregory Archambeault. “We will continue to conduct similar operations, while seeking to ultimately remove criminal aliens with a final order of removal and other immigration fugitives who pose a threat to public safety.”

During the operation, ICE deportation officers also arrested seven immigration violators, in conjunction with the targets of the operation, who were taken into ICE custody and processed for removal.

Those who were primary targets of this operation will be removed from the United States pursuant to their final order. Those without final orders of removal will be issued a notice to appear before an immigration judge and remain in ICE custody during the pendency of their removal proceedings.

The arrests included:  

  • This year, ERO arrested 158,581 aliens, 90% of whom had criminal convictions (66%) pending criminal charges (21%) or previously issued final orders of removal (3%).
  • The overall arrest figure represents an 11% increase over FY2017. In FY2018, ERO removed 256,086 illegal aliens, reflecting an increase of 13% over FY2017. Most removals (57%) were convicted criminals. Additionally,
  • 5,914 of the removed illegal aliens were classified as either known or suspected gang members or terrorists, which is a 9% increase over FY2017.

These arrests were successfully executed with  leads developed by the local ICE field office in conjunction with the Pacific Enforcement Response Center and the National Criminal Alien Targeting Center.

ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. However, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All those in violation of immigration law may be subject to arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that arrest aliens indiscriminately.

Editor’s Note: The arrest statistics provided in this news release represent preliminary data that has been manually reported to ICE headquarters.


Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, a columnist, and a contributor to the nationally syndicated talk-radio program, the Chuck Wilder Show.. He's former chief of police at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.

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