More than 200 foreign nationals were arrested in five states across the Midwest this past week, including in Kansas, according to an official with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported that Kansas was one of six states with reports of a crackdown on immigrants without permission to be in the country. The other five states included major urban centers such as Los Angeles and Atlanta, as well as Texas, Florida and Virginia.
This latest report from immigration officials includes several additional states in the Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Missouri.
In Wichita, there were reports of at least three arrests on suspected immigration violations two weeks ago, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether those arrests were included in the 200 arrested in this crackdown.
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According to the release from immigration enforcement, more than half of those arrested had criminal convictions. In one of the Wichita arrests two weeks ago, the arrest was for driving without insurance.
In other parts of the country, there have been reports of mothers who have been in the U.S. for two decades being detained, as well as people who had showed up voluntarily for yearly check-ins.
So far, the representative for immigration enforcement attributed this latest crackdown to “routine, daily, targeted operations.” It wasn’t immediately clear whether any of those arrested were picked up because of an executive order signed by President Trump that is intended to make it easier to enforce immigration laws.
According to ICE, the latest arrests were targeted and were not made by stopping individuals indiscriminately, by stopping people at checkpoints nor by going door-to-door.
But the report also said that if agents encounter additional immigrants who don’t have permission to be in the country while searching for someone else, those immigrants can be detained as well.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Congress on Saturday demanded an immediate meeting with Thomas Homan, the acting head of ICE.
“These raids have struck fear in the hearts of the immigrant community as many fear that President Trump’s promised ‘deportation force’ is now in full-swing,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Homan.
Contributing: Washington Post