ICE Press Release on "Operation Safe City" Arrests

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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On September 28, 2017, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a press release on the result of its “Operation Safe City” [PDF version].

The ICE explains that Operation Safe City was a four-day operation that “focused on cities and regions where ICE deportation officers are denied access to jails and prisons to interview suspected immigration violators or jurisdictions where ICE detainers are not honored.” The four-day operation resulted in 498 arrests of individuals in 42 counties for violations of the Federal immigration laws. The ICE stated that it prioritized aliens with criminal convictions. It added that individuals with active Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were not targeted for arrest.

Operation Safe City

The acting Director of ICE, Thomas Homan, stated that “sanctuary jurisdictions,” which he defined as those jurisdictions that “do not honor detainers or allow [ICE] access to jails and prisons,” create “a magnet for illegal immigration.” He added that this was the reason that “ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities.”

ICE summarized the number of arrests by jurisdiction:

  • Baltimore (28)
  • Cook County, Illinois (30)
  • Denver (63)
  • Los Angeles (101)
  • New York (45)
  • Philadelphia (107)
  • Seattle (33)
  • Santa Clara County, California (27)
  • Washington DC (14)
  • Massachusetts (50)

Of the 498 aliens arrested by ICE during Operation Safe City, 317 had criminal convictions. 68 of the aliens were immigration fugitives. 104 of the aliens had been previously deported on criminal grounds. The press release notes that some of the aliens who were previously deported will face criminal prosecution for illegal entry and illegal re-entry after removal. 18 of the aliens were gang members or affiliates. ICE included the following chart breaking down the criminal convictions of the aliens arrested, reproduced for your convenience below:

Interestingly, ICE issued a separate press release dedicated solely to summarizing the 45 arrests in New York [PDF version].

First, of the 45 aliens arrested in New York, 30 had criminal convictions. Several of these aliens had been released from criminal custody on active detainer requests before ICE could assume custody of them. 18 of the aliens were known fugitives. Four of the aliens were previously deported from the United States. Finally, 23 of the 45 aliens had outstanding final orders of removal. The following are the details of the criminal histories of eight of the 45 individuals, clipped from the ICE press release for your convenience:

ICE periodically launches substantial operations to arrest aliens for immigration violations or aliens who may be removable due to criminal convictions. Operation Safe City focused on jurisdictions that ICE has determined to be uncooperative with Federal immigration enforcement. Aliens with criminal charges, convictions, or status issues should seek the counsel of an experienced immigration attorney expeditiously. It is always best to be proactive about any issues that may result in adverse immigration consequences. Furthermore, an attorney can advise an individual of his or her rights if he or she comes into contact with Federal immigration enforcement officers. An alien who is detained and is facing immigration charges should consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately.