Politics & Government

Immigration sweep catches 54 people throughout Central California

A sweep in Central California, similar to this one earlier in the year in the southern part of the state, resulted in the arrest of 54 undocumented immigrants.
A sweep in Central California, similar to this one earlier in the year in the southern part of the state, resulted in the arrest of 54 undocumented immigrants. AP

Federal immigration officials arrested 54 undocumented immigrants during a five-day sweep in Central California last week, part of a growing crackdown on undocumented immigrants under President Donald Trump, according to a statement from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agency.

The sweep targeted people with criminal convictions as well as those who have re-entered the U.S. after already being deported, according to the agency news release. Sixteen arrests targeted people convicted of driving under the influence, seven were for drug offenses and six were related to domestic violence convictions. Another five people were arrested for illegal re-entry into the country.

All but one of those arrested were Mexican nationals. Agents also arrested a Salvadoran national with convictions for felony child abuse and spousal battery.

Last week’s sweep hit Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Tulare counties. So far, the immediate Sacramento area hasn’t seen an uptick in ICE arrests during the Trump administration, said Public Affairs Officer James Schwab, who could not say whether ICE sweeps would be coming to the state capital.

“We conduct operations on a daily basis and we can’t comment on ongoing future operations,” Schwab said.

Between Jan. 22 and April 29 of this year, ICE agents arrested 41,898 individuals nationwide, a 35 percent jump over the same period in 2016, the agency reported. Nearly 75 percent of those apprehended had criminal convictions. At the same time, the arrests of immigrants who no criminal convictions jumped by 150 percent in that period.

In the area overseen by the agency’s San Francisco office, the number of ICE arrests actually fell from 2,006 during that same period last year to 1,976 this year.

Under the Trump administration, federal officials have widened the group of undocumented immigrants targeted for deportation, including those who have used falsified identification. Former President Barack Obama had focused on deporting undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

Law enforcement officials in Central California said ICE agents know who they are looking for and haven’t relied on local police or sheriff’s departments.

“ICE gives us a heads up, but beyond that we don’t participate in their immigration enforcement operations,” said Spencer Critchley, police spokesman for Salinas, where ICE apprehended four foreign nationals in the sweep.

People can find more information about a detained family member or friend at https://locator.ice.gov/odls/homePage.do.

Bee writer Ryan Lillis contributed to this story.

Stephen Magagnini: 916-321-1072, @SteveMagagnini

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