On Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced 3,168 undocumented immigrants were detained over the course of six-days in a national operation the agency dubbed “Cross Check.” According to ICE, the six-day operation was the largest such effort in the agency’s history.
Operation Cross Check involved more than 1,900 ICE officers who worked with federal, state and local law enforcement throughout the U.S. to carry out the arrests in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE’s ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation’s immigration system,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement sent to press.
“The mass raids last week and over the weekend are the clearest sign yet that the Administration’s claims to have softened it’s immigration enforcement approach are purely rhetorical,” said Seth Freed Wessler, Colorlines.com’s investigative reporter.
“The raids are in line with the administration’s record on immigration to date: while claiming to target serious offenders the majority of those detained were in fact people with misdemeanor convictions and people who’ve returned to the United States after having been deported previously. In the case of the later group, many have returned to the United States to be with their families,” Wessler went on to point out.
In it’s press release, ICE again claims that the agency “is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities.” And the Washington Post reported the news with an inevitable highlights reel, naming a Cameroonian drug distributer with a gun charge and Mexican murderer among the group. “But of course, the vast majority of those in the serious criminal list are not kin-pins and murderers. ICE officials continue to draw on racialized hysteria to naturalize what’s clearly a bald policy of mass deportation,” Wessler said.
Wessler also notes operation Cross Check is the third such national scale enforcement operation in the last year, which together have detained nearly 8,500 people. “These numbers amount to only a fraction of all deportations. Last year nearly 400,000 people were deported.”
This article was originally published by Colorlines.