Immigration judges were being sent to three states on Monday to expedite the deportations of undocumented immigrants who have been arrested and detained in raids carried out by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The ICE raids and deportations were being increased after President Donald Trump signed an executive order on immigration, fulfilling one of the hallmark promises of his successful presidential campaign.
The judges were being sent by the Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review to Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas, the Los Angeles Times reported. That was in addition to where immigration judges had already been dispatched in California.
ICE was coming off one of its most fruitful roundups of undocumented immigrants since Trump's executive order went into effect in February. Nearly 250 immigrants were arrested and detained in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia earlier this month.
“In the Philadelphia area, ICE arrested several at large criminal aliens in which the agency had issued detainers but the City of Philadelphia failed to honor them and released the individuals from custody — a situation that puts the public at unnecessary risk," ICE active field office director Jennifer Ritchey confirmed recently in a statement.
Philadelphia is a so-called "sanctuary city," or one that provides "safe harbor for undocumented immigrants who might otherwise be deported by federal immigration law enforcement officials," as CBS News defines the term. Trump's executive order also threatened to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities in an effort to persuade them to enforce federal immigration laws.
Philadelphia's annual Cinco De Mayo festival -- a Mexican holiday -- has been canceled this year because many of its participants have typically been undocumented immigrants. The events' organizer expressed his dismay at stopping the festival but said it had to be done.
"The group of six organizers decided to cancel unanimously," Edgar Ramirez told NBC Philadelphia on Friday. "Everyone is offended by the actions of ICE. They did not feel comfortable holding the event."
ICE raids have been executed on virtually every corner of the U.S. and the states in between. Those states include but are not limited to Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
It was not clear how many people had been deported since Trump took office in January. However, former President Barack Obama's administration deported the most people under any presidency, with more than 240,000 people being deported in the 2016 fiscal year, according to ICE.