ICE agents arrest 53 non-violent criminals in San Diego immigration sweep

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SAN DIEGO — Federal agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rounded up 44 undocumented immigrants last week during a five-day seep through San Diego County, and another nine undocumented immigrants in the days before the sweeps began, authorities said Tuesday.

An ICE spokeswoman said the immigration sweeps were “part of the agency’s commitment to prioritize at-large criminal” immigrants. But the sweeps also targeted undocumented immigrants who were not criminals but had final deportation orders, re-entered the country after previous deportations or “have otherwise violated federal immigration laws.”

The 53 undocumented Mexican and Guatemalan citizens were arrested in Santee, Vista, Encinitas, Chula Vista, Escondido, Oceanside, San Diego and Imperial Beach, ICE public-affairs officer Lauren Mack said. The sweeps were conducted by officers from ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations.

“Last week’s enforcement actions reflect the vital work ERO officers do every day to uphold public safety and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls,” said Gregory Archambeault, field office director of the San Diego field office for ERO.

Of the undocumented immigrants arrested who were alleged criminals, their criminal histories included non-violent crimes like vandalism, hit-and-run, larceny, drug offenses and driving under the influence, Mack said. Ten of the 53 arrested were previously deported.

Among those arrested, according to Mack, were a Mexican citizen previously convicted of heroin possession with intent to sell; a Mexican citizen facing a charge of driving under the influence; a Mexican citizen facing charges of driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance; and a Mexican citizen previously deported who is facing a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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