Originally published by Daily Kos
Seventy percent of the immigrants arrested in a massive Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation last week weren’t even targets of the action, says a new report from the Huffington Post’s Elise Foley. According to ICE, the purpose of “Operation Border Guardian/Border Resolve” was to sweep up young immigrants who came to the U.S. as unaccompanied minors now that they are approaching 18 years old. Only 120 of the arrested immigrants fit in that category, while over 450 were“collateral arrests,” or how immigration agents callously refer to the immigrants they arrest while searching for someone else:
To critics of the Trump administration’s tactics, the fact that a majority of arrests were not the people ICE targeted is more evidence that while officials talk of going after MS-13 gang members and “bad hombres,” they see an upside to using random enforcement to scare people.
Seventy percent of people picked up “just happened to be living in the same neighborhood” as those they sought to arrest, said Frank Sharry, president of the pro-immigration reform group America’s Voice. “That is a neighborhood sweep, not a targeted enforcement action and it just shows how out of control ICE has become.”
According to ICE, the supposed targets of this operation “had criminal histories or suspected gang ties,” but just yesterday the Washington Post reported that two Maryland brothers who arrived to the U.S. as unaccompanied minors are facing deportation, despite having no criminal record. And, just this past March, federal immigration agents were accused of forging documents in order to tie a Seattle DACA recipient to gang activity. Daniel Ramirez Medina spent six weeks in custody before being released by ICE.
It’s bad enough young immigrants who fled to our nation to survive are getting targeted in the first place. Now acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, unlike Donald Trump, isn’t even trying to hide the fact that ICE is no longer differentiating between actual “bad hombres” and people who don’t pose any sort of threat to public safety:
Homan has previously defended ICE’s arrests of people without criminal convictions, including those who had been regularly checking in with the agency for years or entered as children. When Donald Trump became president, his administration eliminated policies set under President Barack Obama to focus on certain immigrants for removal while declining to deport others under prosecutorial discretion.
“If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable,” Homan told a congressional committee in June. “You should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried.”