Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly speaks during a news conference at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Feb. 10, 2017, in San Ysidro, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Department of Homeland Security John F Kelly has remained largely silent on last week's spate of immigration raids in the U.S., but the newly confirmed member of President Donald Trump's cabinet looked to set the record straight Monday afternoon.

Hundreds of undocumented immigrants were rounded up in at least seven states — including California, home to more than 2.5 million undocumented immigrants — in a process that started Feb. 6 and ended Friday. When he was asked about the arbitrary nature of the raids by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Kelly pushed back, CBS News reported Saturday.

"First of all, they’re not rounding anyone up," he said. "The people that ICE apprehend are people who are illegal and then some."

The raids targeted undocumented immigrants who have criminal record, ICE officials said.

Kelly released a formal statement Tuesday to fully explain the "series of targeted enforcement operations across the country." The full statement follows below:

"Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a series of targeted enforcement operations across the country. These operations targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.

ICE officers in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City areas of responsibility arrested more than 680 individuals who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system. Of those arrested, approximately 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges.

ICE conducts these kind of targeted enforcement operations regularly and has for many years. The focus of these enforcement operations is consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis.

President Trump has been clear in affirming the critical mission of DHS in protecting the nation and directed our Department to focus on removing illegal aliens who have violated our immigration laws, with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety, have been charged with criminal offenses, have committed immigration violations or have been deported and re-entered the country illegally.

I commend the heroic efforts of the dedicated officers of ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations and those who provided assistance from ICE Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Marshals Service, as well as cooperating state and local law enforcement agencies. These professionals put their lives on the line to protect our communities and country. There is no greater calling than to serve and protect our nation – a mission that the men and women of ICE perform with professionalism and courage every single day."