U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested nearly 190 people in Southern California in a five-day operation that targeted “public safety threats,” including criminal foreign nationals, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives, authorities announced Thursday.
About 90 percent — 169 of the 188 people — arrested in the six-county enforcement operation that ended Wednesday had prior criminal convictions, the agency said. Among them were 15 people convicted of sex crimes, including a convicted rapist, a previously deported cocaine trafficker, and two people convicted of cruelty to a child.
“It’s a win for us and now we’ve taken these convicted criminals off the streets so they can’t re-offend, they can’t make more victims and ultimately, our goal is to remove them from the country,” David Marin, field office director for Enforcement and Removal Operations in Los Angeles, said in an interview. “They weren’t people who just had traffic tickets or speeding violations.”
Arrests were made in the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, Ventura and Santa Barbara.
While the vast majority of arrestees were from Mexico — 146 — they also came from countries, including Russia, Armenia, Thailand, El Salvador, Vietnam, Cambodia and Guatemala, according to an ICE statement.
Jennie Pasquarella, director of immigrants’ rights for the American Civil Liberties Union of California, said ICE arrests during the operation included a decades-long green card holder from El Monte who according to the man’s family, had a domestic violence-related conviction dating back to the early 90s.
“His daughter is active-duty military, his son-in-law is active duty military,” Pasquarella said. “He’s been a valued member of his family and community for decades and they seem to be going after people for a conviction that’s as old as 1992.”
The man, a construction worker whom she declined to name without permission from…