1,300 arrested in massive California immigration sweep

Federal officials have arrested more than 1,300 immigrants in southern California over the past two weeks in the biggest operation of its kind in the US, the Los Angeles Times reported.

1,300 arrested in massive California immigration sweep
Most of those arrested either have criminal records or have failed to abide by deportation orders. More than 600 of those arrested have already been deported.

Previously the biggest such operation entailed the arrest of 1,297 undocumented immigrants at meat processing plants in six states last December. The California operation netted 1,327 arrests.

'Where these laws may not have been enforced in the past, that has changed,' said Jim Hayes, Los Angeles field office director for ICE.

Immigrant rights groups protested the arrests, saying they broke up families and created an inaccurate impression of the immigrant community. Enforcement actions also cause fear in immigrant neighborhoods and families that may include US citizens.

'It directs public attention away from the real need to reform the immigration system overall,' Reshma Shamasunder, director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, told the paper. 'This is not going to solve our problems. This is just one narrow-minded, mean-spirited way of trying to fix the immigration problem.'

About 1,100 of the recent arrestees were from Mexico. An additional 170 were from Central America, and others were from countries including Vietnam, Indonesia and Ireland. They had committed crimes such as burglary, domestic violence, assault and transportation of drugs, agents said. Some of them were legal, permanent residents who were deportable because of the crimes they committed.

Overall, there are an estimated 595,000 immigration fugitives in the United States, down 37,000 from a year ago, according to the ICE.

Last Mod: 04 Ekim 2007, 15:13
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