153 undocumented immigrants arrested in South Texas

Federal immigration authorities arrested 153 undocumented immigrants in a 12-day operation throughout South Texas late last month.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were targeting at-large criminals, illegal re-entrants, and immigration fugitives in Austin, San Antonio, Rio Grande Valley and Laredo, according to the agency.

Authorities arrested 138 men and 15 women in the operation, which started March 20 and ended March 31. Of those arrested, 140 were from Mexico, seven from Honduras, three from Guatemala, two from Canada, and one from El Salvador. All of them had prior criminal convictions, including for aggravated assault with a weapon, aggravated sexual assault of a child, vehicular manslaughter, domestic violence, DUI, and drug convictions.

One woman, a 27-year-old Mexican national, was arrested in Laredo, Texas on March 20, processed and removed. She had a prior conviction for injury to a child.

On March 31, ICE agents arrested a 46-year-old Mexican national who’d previously been convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child, 2 DUI’s and assault. He was awaiting removal proceedings as of Tuesday.

Most of those arrested, 120, are being processed for deportation, while the remaining 33 will face criminal prosecution on charges of re-entry.

“ICE’s primary immigration enforcement efforts target convicted criminal aliens,” said Daniel Bible, field office director for ERO in San Antonio. “Consequently, our operations improve overall public safety by removing these criminals from our streets, and ultimately from our country.”

The arrests come as the Trump administration, together with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, crack down on undocumented immigrants.

Last week, ICE announced the arrest of 84 undocumented immigrants in the Pacific Northwest.

In fiscal year 2016, ICE removed 240,255 people nationwide. The agency says 92 percent of them had previous convictions.