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ICE Arrests 30 In Chicago Area In 4-Day Sweep Of Sanctuary Cities

By Stephen Gossett in News on Sep 29, 2017 7:52PM

Photo via Chicagoist Flickr User Anne Fisher

Federal immigration agents arrested 30 people in four days in Cook County as part of sweep that targeted sanctuary cities across the United States, according to an announcement on Thursday from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Nearly 500 people from 42 countries were arrested nationwide in the sweep, which the agency dubbed "Operation Safe City."

ICE said in a release on Thursday that the raids prioritized people "with criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, known gang members and affiliates, immigration fugitives and those who re-entered the U.S. after deportation."

The sweep included Cook County, Baltimore, Denver, Los Angeles, New York and other sanctuary cities—jurisdictions that limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents.

"Sanctuary jurisdictions that do not honor detainers or allow us access to jails and prisons are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration," said ICE Acting Director Tom Homan in a statement. "As a result, ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities."

The city of Chicago is currently entangled in a legal battle with the Department of Justice related to the city's sanctuary policies and federal grant money. Sessions had announced in July that in order to receive Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, local authorities would be required to give federal officials a 48-hour notice window prior to releasing an arrestee suspected of being an undocumented immigrant. Chicago filed suit in August claiming that the DOJ's decision to withhold funds on such basis was unconstitutional. A judge in September sided with the city of Chicago, and the ruling's preliminary injunction took effect nationwide. The DOJ earlier this week filed an appeal.

ICE said there were 28 arrests in Baltimore, 63 in Denver, 101 in Los Angeles, 45 in New York, 107 in Philadelphia, 33 in Seattle, 27 in Santa Clara County, 14 in Washington, D.C. and 50 in Massachusetts.

According to ICE's breakdown of the nationwide arrests in the sweep, 181 of the 498 arrests did not have a previous criminal conviction.

According to numbers provided to Chicagoist by an ICE spokesperson, 10 of the 30 people arrested in Cook County did not have a previous criminal conviction.

ICE did not provide a full breakdown of criminal convictions among those who had been convicted, but the agency shared the following five descriptions:

On Sept. 27, a 40-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested in Chicago. After illegally entering the United States in 1979, he was convicted of the following crimes:
- 1997: manufacturing/delivery cannabis and sentenced to 1 year probation.
- 2002: aggravated unlawful use of weapon/vehicle/previous conviction and sentenced him to 2 years’ probation
- 2005: aggravated unlawful use of weapon/vehicle/previous conviction and sentenced him to 3 years in jail.
2006: a federal immigration judge ordered him removed; he was removed to Mexico.
He illegally reentered the United States at an unknown date and place.

On Sept. 27, a 20-year-old citizen of Mexico, and a self-proclaimed gang member, was arrested in Palatine, Illinois. His case is being presented to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for illegally possessing a rifle and ammunition. He was served a Notice to Appear before a federal immigration judge and placed into ICE custody without bond pending removal proceedings.

On Sept. 26, a 43-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested in Hanover Park, Illinois. In 2008, he was encountered by Border Control in El Paso, Texas while attempting to enter the United States illegally. He was processed, charged, and convicted of illegal entry, and sentenced to 30 days incarceration. He is considered a re-entry criminal alien.

On Sept. 26, a 40-year-old citizen of the Czech Republic was arrested in Chicago. In 1999, he was convicted for DUI and sentenced to one year supervision. In 2005, he was convicted of a second DUI and was sentenced to one year imprisonment with Illinois Department of Correction. In 2007, he was issued a final order of removal by a federal immigration judge in Chicago.

On Sept. 26, a 30-year-old citizen of Mexico, and a known gang affiliate, was arrested in Chicago. It is unknown when and where he illegally entered the United States. Since his entry, he has been convicted of a DUI in 2003; illegally re-entering the United States after removal in 2012. Also in 2012, he was convicted for possessing a controlled substance manufacture/delivery of cocaine.

A spokesperson for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights told Chicagoist by email, that families affected by the ICE raids can reach out for help: "ICIRR stands in solidarity with all those families hurt by ICE raids and deportation. We encourage those affected to call our help line 1-855-HELP-MY-FAMILY if they need assistance or advice, and to access our Know Your Rights resources on our website here and here."

As NBC News points out, it's not out of the ordinary for immigration agents to sweep up detainees by the hundreds or low thousands. But the explicit focus on sanctuary jurisdictions would seem likely to only add to the strain between the Department of Justice and such cities and counties.

According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration has deported fewer people (211,068) than the Obama administration had at this time last year nationwide (240,255), even though ICE agents have made 43 percent more arrests over that span.