A total of 232 undocumented immigrants were arrested on charges of violating federal immigration laws in a four-day operation in northern California, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) reported.
In a press release, the ICE said that of the total of 180 detainees were convicted criminals who did not leave the country after being ordered to do so or to return after being deported.
He explained that 115 people arrested in the raids, which ended last Wednesday, had previous convictions for serious or violent crimes such as child sex crimes or illegal possession of weapons.
The operation was carried out in the San Francisco Bay Area to areas close to the state of Oregon, in northern California, and to the south in the Bakersfield area of the Central Valley.
The arrests came amid a climate of tension between pro-immigrant organizations and federal officials, who recently criticized Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who warned on social media over the weekend about imminent raids, which ICE says could have helped hundreds of other immigrants to avoid arrest.
Last Thursday, the Santa Clara County Rapid Response Network also reported receiving 150 calls from South Bay residents who reported the presence of ICE agents in the region in the past two days.
The Network - made up of pro-immigrant organizations and volunteer lawyers - said the raids are a reprisal for state sanctuary policies, while President Donald Trump's administration argues that California's immigration laws have allowed dangerous criminals to run freely for a long time.
"In the face of an ugly campaign of intimidation by the deportation force of the Trump administration, we call on all Californians to respond with power, not in panic," the network said in a statement.
He also alleged that ICE agents used scare tactics during the arrests and prevented lawyers from having contact with the detainees.
ICE said it was forced to enter the communities after California's sanctuary policies cut off almost all cooperation and were denied access to prisons, freeing criminal immigrants.
General arrests in local neighborhoods and workplaces will continue, which will inevitably result in collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests in prisons, the agency said. Los Angeles (NOTIMEX)