The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says immigration officers have arrested more than 680 people in recent raids targeting illegal migrants, most of them criminals.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said 75 percent of those rounded up for deportation have criminal records, and he described the operations as routine.
The raids took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York.
Kelly said the crimes committed by the undocumented migrants included homicide and aggravated sexual assault. He said the focus of the recent raids was on dangerous criminals, but said it also included anyone who had broken immigration laws.
‘We’re getting the criminals’
President Donald Trump said Monday that he was honoring his campaign pledge to deport criminal illegal migrants. “We’re getting them out. I’m just doing what I said I would.”
Speaking at a news conference at the White House with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said “We’re getting the criminals, the drug lords…. We’re getting the bad ones … People are going to be very, very happy.”
Trump described the government’s raids against the illegal migrants as “a stance of common sense.”
The number of arrests during the recent raids is similar to those carried out during operations by the previous administration of Barack Obama.
While the raids were not out of the ordinary, news of the arrests and rumors about other raids sparked fear and confusion among immigrants.
Immigration rights activists say the government is deporting migrants indiscriminately, and not taking into account their ties to the community.
During the campaign for president, Trump promised to deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented migrants with criminal records once he took office.