U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement arrested 600 people across 11 states, and detained 40 more in one week.
It still remains unclear whether or not the recent actions taken by ICE are routine or ramping up enforcement due to the Trump administration.
Presiding press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Gillian Christensen said in a statement, “The focus of these targeted enforcement operations is consistent with the routine.”
“Targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams on a daily basis.” Christensen continued.
“All of these people were in violation of some sort of immigration law,” an anonymous official from ICE said. “We’re not going out to Walmart to check papers – we know who we are going out to seek.”
The effects of this apparent routine roundup and strict immigrant law enforcement are already being felt in every state across the nation.
A green card holder in Texas is being sentenced to eight years in prison and certain deportation after it was found that she voted illegally.
Rosa Maria Ortega – born in Monterrey, Mexico – and her mother moved to Texas shortly after Ortega was born. After 10 years had passed, the family was scattered and Ortega’s mother was arrested and deported.
Ortega’s two brothers both gained automatic citizenship and Ortega gained a green card and became a permanent citizen to the U.S.
“She has a 6th-grade education. She didn’t know she was illegal,” Ortega’s lawyer, Clark Birdsall said: “She got this [green] card that says ‘resident’ on it so she doesn’t know that she’s not a citizen.”
According to the New York Times, Ortega was a registered Republican. She voted for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in the 2012 election and then voted for the party responsible for prosecuting her, State Attorney General Ken Paxton, in the 2014 election.
Some are worried if more events similar to Ortega’s harsh punishment and ICE’s 600 roundup will continue in the nearing future.
An anonymous Homeland Security agent stated, “The President has been very clear in saying that D.H.S should be focused on removing individuals who pose a threat to the public safety, who have been charged with criminal offenses, who have committed multiple immigration violations or who have been deported and re-entered the country illegally.”