Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents conducted a massive illegal immigration sweep in Los Angeles, a sanctuary city, on Friday as reported by the Washington Times.
The operation was one of the largest ICE immigration stings in years. In total, ICE arrested 212 illegal aliens, the majority of whom were convicted criminals.
Because the City of Los Angeles is a sanctuary city, it does not honor federal detainer requests or cooperate with ICE agents on deportations of illegal aliens in the city's jails. In order for ICE to make arrests, ICE agents must initiate their own operations and go directly to the locations of the illegal aliens.
According to Thomas Homan, Deputy Director, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, speaking to the Washington Times:
Fewer jail arrests mean more arrests on the street, and that also requires more resources, which is why we are forced to send additional resources to those areas to meet operational needs and officer safety,” Mr. Homan said. “Consistent with our public safety mission, 88 percent of those arrested during this operation were convicted criminals.
Additionally, ICE served 122 businesses with immigration audit notices. These businesses will now have to prove to the government that they were not hiring illegal immigrants to work in any capacity.
According to Dani Bennett, an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, speaking to the Los Angeles Times:
It’s a deterrent to somebody who is thinking about crossing the border, paying a smuggler, and taking that perilous journey. If there isn’t that pull factor or perceived easy employment on the other side, there isn’t that incentive to cross in the first place.
Despite the City of Los Angeles' self-designation as a sanctuary city, employers are still required to follow federal immigration laws when hiring employees. Employers who fail to do so can face significant fines or years in prison, if convicted.