Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Thursday that it had arrested more than 150 people as part of an operation that picked up immigrants who did not have legal permission to live in the United States and who had promised to leave the country.
Most of the people detained had criminal charges or convictions.
“Operation Broken Promise,” targeted immigrants who had promised to voluntarily leave the country rather than face deportation, but then they never did. If requested, immigrants can be given between 60 and 120 days to leave the country.
Of the 150 people arrested since by Nov. 2, 86% of those had criminal convictions or pending charges, the agency said.
“ICE takes seriously its obligation to enforce our nation’s immigration laws,” acting ICE Director Tony Pham said in a statement. “Those being arrested in this targeted operation have broken their promise to the U.S. government, and we are enforcing the consequences of that dishonesty.”
The operation marks one of a number of operations carried out by the agency in recent months — notably catching a substantial number of immigrants with rap sheets.
Last month, ICE launched Operation Granite in Minnesota, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Texas, and caught more than 100 immigrants living in the country without legal permisson.
Pham said 70% had criminal records, including prior convictions, pending charges or both. Those include convictions or charges for the kidnapping of a minor, domestic assault, burglary, sexual assault, cruelty toward children, sexual exploitation of a minor and robbery.
It comes at a time when ICE’s activities are under close scrutiny. President-elect Joe Biden has promised to impose a 100-day moratorium on ICE deportations.