Operation ‘Safe City’ Removes 498 on Federal Immigration Charges


U.S. cities have seen a series of raids against immigrants this year, leading to federal immigration charges.

In September 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and fugitive operation teams announced the arrests of 498 people from 42 counties. They were accused of a wide range of crimes.

Operation Safe City was clearly targeted at so-called sanctuary cities. ICE said its officers targeted locations where federal immigration officers are denied access to jails and prisons to talk to suspected immigration violators or jurisdictions that do not respect federal detainer orders.

ICE said its wide-ranging operation targeted people in violation of U.S. immigration laws. In a press release, ICE said it prioritized known gang members, immigration fugitives, undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions and those who again entered the United States after being deported.

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Federal immigration charges were brought under Operation Safe City

So-called “Dreamers” who benefit from the DACA initiative were not targeted.

ICE Acting Director Tom Homan said:

“Sanctuary jurisdictions that do not honor detainers or allow us access to jails and prisons are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration. As a result, ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities.”

In the past Austin, a location that has a policy to not honor detainer requests unless a serious crime has been committed, has been targeted. The round of arrests in September did not impact any Texas cities.

Operation Safe City arrests picked up 30 people in Cook County, Illinois, 28 in Baltimore, 63 in Denver, 101 in Los Angeles, 45 in New York, 107 in Philadelphia, 14 in Washington DC, 33 in Portland, Oregon, 27 in Santa Clara County in California and 50 in the State of Massachusetts.

ICE pointed out those arrested included an El Salvador national in Baltimore who entered the country illegally on a fraudulent passport and was previously accused of attempted murder, a sex offender from India in Boston, and a man from Guatemala in Denver who has a past conviction for felony menacing, six DUIs, child abuse, assault and domestic violence.

Of 498 people taken into custody during Operation Safe City:

  • 317 had criminal convictions;
  • 68 were immigration fugitives;
  • 104 were previously deported criminal aliens.

Earlier this year, Austin was the target of a series of raids by ICE. Texas lawmakers enacted a tough new law intended to criminalize jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities.

If you are facing possible deportation, call our Austin family immigration lawyers today at  (512) 399-2311.

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