Over the past five days, immigration officials in Reno and Las Vegas have swept through the Nevada cities, arresting 87 immigrants who they said posed a threat to public safety, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Many of the immigrants, who come from at least nine countries, now face various criminal charges. Those who have outstanding orders of deportation or are repeat illegal-entry offenders will be deported immediately. Others who aren’t facing criminal charges will be prosecuted in front of an immigration judge and removed administratively, according to reports from local news agencies like the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The arrests come months after sweeping deportation raids at the beginning of the year that were highly criticized by immigration activists. Just last week, the administration of President Barack Obama announced it would conduct another 30-day surge of deportation raids.
“This operation exemplifies [Immigration and Customs Enforcement's] ongoing commitment to targeting convicted criminals and public safety threats for apprehension and removal,” Daniel Bible, the field office director of Enforcement and Removal Operations Salt Lake City, which oversees Nevada, said. “By taking these individuals off our streets and ultimately removing them from the country, we are making our communities safer for everyone.”
Among the 22 detained in Reno — many of whom Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have refused to identify, citing privacy restrictions — are a 33-year-old Mexican national with a history of drug trafficking, driving under the influence and domestic violence convictions. Another Mexican, 19, has a reported history of robbery and resisting arrest.
As for Las Vegas, at least three of the detainees have been identified. One is a 55-year-old Mexican national with a prior felony rap for transporting and selling heroin. Another is a 57-year-old Mexican who received a four- to 10-year sentence for lewdness with a child under the age of 14. One is a 42-year-old Salvadoran who has multiple prior convictions, including a statutory sexual seduction conviction.
Immigration agencies have been operating under a directive to target immigrants with a propensity for violence or repeat violations since at least 2014, when Obama signaled during a primetime speech his administration would begin to extend deportation relief to undocumented parents of American children or children living lawfully in the U.S. At that time, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson sent a memo noting that deportation priorities included those who posed a threat to national security, public safety and border security.