Immigration and Customs Enforcement swept into Los Angeles this week, arresting 212 illegal immigrants and serving inspection notices to 122 local businesses suspected of employing illegals.
“Consistent with our public safety mission, 88% of those arrested during this operation were convicted criminals,” said ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan.
The agency says it targeted Los Angles because it is a sanctuary city.
“Fewer jail arrests mean more arrests on the street, and that also requires more resources, which is why we are forced send additional resources to those areas to meet operational needs and officer safety,” continued Homan.
Already this year, Homeland Security Investigations (a division of ICE) has served inspection notices to 77 businesses in the state of California – including numerous 7-Eleven stores throughout northern California.
Businesses to receive a notice must provide I-9’s for all employees within three days, after which ICE agents will search through the business’s hiring records in search of illegal immigrants. Failing to produce the required documentation can lead to criminal charges or fines.
“It’s put people in a lot of panic,” said San Jose resident Mariela Garcia. “We have people who are quitting their jobs.”
Democrats have accused the agency of “harassing” and “intimidating” business owners, but cracking down on businesses who employ illegals is perhaps the most important thing we can do to deter illegal immigration.
Without job opportunities, fewer people will come into the country.
“HSI’s worksite enforcement strategy is focused on protecting jobs for US citizens and others who are lawfully employed, eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that hire an illegal workforce and strengthening public safety and national security,” says ICE spokesman James Schwab.
HSI conducted 1,360 inspections last year, leading to 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests. According to an ICE press release, “businesses were ordered to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeiture, fines, and restitution and $7.8 million in civil fines.”
The raid on LA comes as lawmakers continue to debate immigration policy, including what to do about DACA in advance of the March 5th deadline. Senators voted against four separate proposals this week, including a bill that would have legalized 1.8 million Dreamers in exchange for Trump’s requested changes to immigration policy and $25 billion in border wall funding.