Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents have started sweeps in New York City, according to reports.
A leaked ICE memo says some 40 people were arrested in the city, which coincided with similar ICE actions across the country, PIX11-TV reported. The details of the memo were confirmed by the ICE New York press secretary on Sunday.
The memo said that “the vast majority (nearly 95%) of those arrested had criminal convictions.”
The agency described the sweeps as “routine, daily, targeted operations,” as the New York Daily News reported.
They took place after President Donald Trump last month signed an executive order calling for the defunding of cities who have “sanctuary” policies in effect. “The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”
An ICE official told the Daily News that the federal agency is seeking to implement orders handed down by federal judges who ordered deportations.
“The President has been clear in saying that (the Homeland Security Department) should be focused on removing individuals who pose a threat to public safety, who have been charged with criminal offenses, who have committed multiple immigration violations or who have been deported and reentered the country illegally,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying.
An immigrant advocacy group, meanwhile, told the Observer that five Mexican nationals were arrested in the past week.
In New York’s Staten Island, sweeps occurred on Feb. 2, Feb. 3, Feb. 5, and Feb. 8, the group told the paper. The five people who were nabbed were male and four have children who are American citizens. “What we’ve seen is that the incidents in Staten Island are consistent with what we’ve seen with the surge of ICE activity in the last week,” Theo Oshiro, deputy director of Make the Road New York, told the Observer.
Around the U.S., more raids included the arrests of about 200 people in the Carolinas and Georgia, more than 150 in and around Los Angeles, and about 40 in New York, ICE confirmed. Among those arrested were a Salvadorian gang member and a Brazilian drug trafficker, officials said, AP reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.