Nearly 200 people across Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina were arrested this week during immigration raids, according to a preliminary tally provided by ICE’s Atlanta field office. The majority were convicted criminals, ICE officials said, targeted as part of “routine” and “established” enforcement operations. In the Los Angeles area, more than 150 arrests were made in a weeklong operation, ICE officials said.
And in Austin, Texas, while ICE officials did not provide a number of arrests, they did notify the Mexican Consulate-General of totals including Mexican nationals but not individuals from other countries. A spokesman from the consulate said nearly 50 arrests of Mexican nationals had been recorded since Thursday. On average, the consulate is notified of about three each day.
“ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately,” Bryan Cox, ICE’s Southern region communications director, said in a statement Saturday.
Last month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing Homeland Security to prioritize the removal of people in the United States illegally who had criminal convictions. In addition to speeding up the deportation of convicts, Trump’s orders also call for quick removal of people in the country illegally who are charged with crimes and waiting for adjudication as well as those who have not been charged but are believed to have committed “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”
“There really is a lot of confusion as to who they’re targeting,” said Faye Kolly, an immigration attorney based in Austin. “A lot of people are scared.”
A video circulated on social media appeared to show ICE agents in Austin detaining several people in a shopping center parking lot.
Austin City Councilman Greg Casar, who represents a North-Central part of the city that is home to many immigrants, said constituents were hanging dark sheets on windows and refusing to open the front door even for immigrant rights advocates.