A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation has netted hundreds of undocumented immigrants across the country this week in what officials called routine enforcement actions. Nathan Frandino reports.
Federal immigration agents arresting hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least four states this week in a five-day "enforcement surge" officials describe as routine. The operation, which netted 161 people in southern California, prompting major demonstrations in downtown Los Angeles. Their anger comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's executive order barring refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations. That order is currently on hold... though Trump on Friday said he was considering a new executive order to restore his controversial travel ban. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, ACCOMPANIED BY MELANIA TRUMP, IN AN EXCHANGE WITH REPORTERS AND SAYING: "...we also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order on Monday." Immigration officials said the operation was in the planning stage long before Trump's executive actions were announced. Of those arrested in California, officials say only 10 did not have criminal records. On the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, newly sworn in Homeland Security Chief John Kelly downplayed the arrests. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY, SAYING: "They're not rounding anyone up. The people that ICE apprehend are people who are illegal and then some." Though protesters and others denied many of the arrested had records, like Marlene Mosqueda's father Manuel. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARLENE MOSQUEDA, DAUGHTER OF DETAINEE, SAYING: "They took my parents away. They took my family away." Protesters say they're concerned that the arrests could signal the beginning of a more aggressive enforcement under the new administration.