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WASHINGTON U.S. immigration officers have
arrested more than 680 people in recent operations, 75 percent
of whom have been convicted of crimes, Homeland Security
Secretary John Kelly said on Monday, referring to actions that
have sparked alarm among immigrant rights advocates.
Kelly said in a statement that crimes committed by the
illegal immigrants ranged from homicide to driving under the
influence of alcohol.
He said the operations were routine and consistent with
regular operations carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement. Immigration advocates have said they are raids that
do not take into account an immigrant’s threat level or family
ties to the United States.
President Donald Trump promised to deport 2 million to 3
million migrants with criminal records on taking office.
Former President Barack Obama also targeted criminal
migrants for deportations, but his administration did not
consider low-level offenses such as driving under the influence
of alcohol to be a deportable offense.
At a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau on Monday, Trump said his administration had “really
done a great job” in its recent arrests of immigrants.
“We’re actually taking people that are criminals, very,
very, hardened criminals in some cases with a tremendous track
record of abuse and problems,” Trump said.
The immigrants’ arrests followed Trump’s Jan. 27 executive
order temporarily banning visa holders from seven countries and
all refugees from entering the United States. That order was
suspended by a U.S. district judge, in a ruling upheld by a
federal appeals court.
(Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson)
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