A series of raids in and around New Jersey has resulted in the arrests of 105 people in a five-day period, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Of those arrested, 80 percent had prior convictions or pending charges, according to an ICE news release.
John Tsoukaris, Field Office Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations in Newark, praised the efforts of ICE and the Customs and Border Protection New Jersey Field Office.
“These outstanding results, which were made possible by our officers and law enforcement partners, highlight the tremendous commitment that ICE ERO has to public safety throughout the state,” he said.
“Our focus has been and will continue to be on arrests of illegal aliens who have been convicted of serious crimes or those who pose a threat to public safety,” he said.
The arrests included members of the MS-13 gang and other gangs, ICE said.
ICE listed the charges against those arrested, which included a 59-year-old Korean national wanted “for the crime of indecent acts by compulsion causing bodily injury,” several other individuals wanted for fraud, several for dealing drugs and some for crimes against children.
In its statement, ICE noted that its sweep was planned before New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced a series of policies designed to limit the extent to which local law enforcement officials could cooperate with ICE.
Arrests began taking place one day after his announcement.
ICE criticized the new rule, saying it “undermines public safety and hinders ICE from performing its federally-mandated mission,” according to WCAU.
“Ultimately, this directive shields certain criminal aliens, creating a state-sanctioned haven for those seeking to evade federal authorities, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people the NJ Attorney General is charged with protecting,” ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence said in a statement, which said ICE would need to step up raids in New Jersey now that local cooperation would no longer be forthcoming.
ICE’s latest arrests were condemned by Carlos Rojas Rodriguez, a community organizer for Movimiento Cosecha, according to the North Jersey Record.
Rodriguez said the arrests had to be connected to the new order from Grewal.
“It is a shame that while the new AG is trying to create trust between the immigrant community and law enforcement, ICE director John Tsoukaris is trying to destroy that trust and criminalize immigrants across the state,” Rodriguez said.
Make the Road New Jersey, which calls itself an immigrant rights organization, also issued a statement attacking ICE, according to NJ.com.
“ICE is a rogue agency that uses threats and retaliation to targets workers, families and long-time residents for deportation, often in violation of the constitution. No federal agency should operate this way,” it said.
“ICE should not punish New Jersey residents for Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s common-sense policy decision to restore trust with immigrant communities and public safety for all,” the statement said.
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