Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Deportation officers and special agents from the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have arrested 212 individuals for violating federal immigration laws – with 88 percent of those arrested being convicted criminals – and served 122 notices of inspection (NOIs) to businesses in the Los Angeles area during a five-day targeted operation that ended on February 15, 2018, according to a news release from ICE.

ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 212 individuals for violating U.S. immigration laws, and 195 of those arrested were either convicted criminals, had been issued a final order of removal and failed to depart the United States, or had been previously removed from the United States and returned illegally. More than 55 percent had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses.

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) served 122 notices of inspection to businesses in the Los Angeles area to alert business owners that ICE will audit their hiring records to determine whether or not they are in compliance with the law. If the businesses are found to not be in compliance with the law, they will face civil fines and potential criminal prosecution from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Because sanctuary jurisdictions like Los Angeles prevent ICE from arresting criminal aliens in the secure confines of a jail, our officers are forced to conduct at-large arrests in the community, putting officers, the general public and the aliens at greater risk and increasing the incidents of collateral arrests,” ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan stated in a news release about the ICE operation in Los Angeles.

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all individuals they hire, and to document that information using the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. A notice of inspection alerts business owners that ICE is going to audit their hiring records to determine whether or not they are in compliance with the law.

In Fiscal Year 2017 – which lasted from October 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017 – ICE conducted 1,360 I-9 audits and made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests. Businesses were ordered to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeiture, fines and restitution and $7.8 million in civil fines, including one company whose financial penalties represented the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case.

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