An Immigration and Customs Enforcement crackdown on sanctuary cities has netted hundreds of illegal immigrants nationwide, including a number in Southern California.
According to CNBC, ICE announced Friday that 212 illegals have been arrested as part of a five-day sweep in the Los Angeles area which has seen 122 businesses targeted.
A similar raid in Northern California, including arrests in San Jose and San Francisco, happened just days beforehand.
Overall, according to the Los Angeles Times, over 500 people have been arrested and detained by ICE nationwide in the period of several days.
Experts say that the arrests seem to signal a willingness by federal authorities to do battle with the liberal paradise of California, which has passed a so-called “sanctuary state” law.
The legislation effectively stops local authorities from working with federal officials on immigration cases and makes it illegal for businesses to voluntarily pass on employee information — including immigration status — to the federal government. Businesses who violate the law are subject to a $10,000 fine.
“This seems to be a battle between California as a state and the federal government,” Angelo Paparelli, an immigration attorney with Seyfarth Shaw in Los Angeles, told CNBC.
“The employers, when they are served with notices of inspection, have an awareness that this isn’t just a civil enforcement proceeding — it could very well lead to a criminal enforcement proceeding.”
“Because sanctuary jurisdictions like Los Angeles prevent ICE from arresting criminal aliens in the secure confines of a jail, our officers are forced to conduct at-large arrests in the community, putting officers, the general public and the aliens at greater risk and increasing the incidents of collateral arrests,” ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan said in the statement.
“Fewer jail arrests mean more arrests on the street, and that also requires more resources, which is why we are forced to send additional resources to those areas to meet operational needs and officer safety.
“Consistent with our public safety mission, 88 percent of those arrested during this operation were convicted criminals.”
The news release added that “(s)ome of the individuals arrested during this operation will face federal criminal prosecutions for illegal entry and illegal re-entry after deportation.”
“The arrestees who are not being federally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States,” it stated.
As for the businesses involved, ICE announced it will be doing an audit on its employment records to “determine whether or not they are in compliance with the law.”
“If the businesses are found to not be in compliance with the law, they will face civil fines and potential criminal prosecution.”
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