As part of a massive illegal immigration sweep, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Thursday that officials this week arrested nearly 500 illegal immigrants living in sanctuary cities across the country.
The raid, referred to as “Operation ‘Safe City’” in a news release, spanned four days in cities through the U.S., and ended Wednesday.
Illegal immigrants with criminal charges or known gang-affiliations were targeted, the release said, noting that recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program were not.
In Philadelphia, 107 illegal immigrants were arrested, while 101 were arrested in Los Angeles and 45 people were arrested in New York.
The release noted that 18 of the 498 people arrested were gang members or have gang affiliations.
A Mexican illegal immigrant in Los Angeles who was arrested is a member of the Colonia Chiques gang, a group dubbed one of the “largest and deadliest gangs” in southern California’s Ventura County by the FBI.
That immigrant, who was found with a handgun, allegedly rammed a number of law enforcement vehicles in an attempt to escape from authorities.
Sanctuary cities -- or cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration policy -- have become a heated topic as the Trump administration has pushed for a stronger crackdown on illegal immigration.
Even though ICE has said arrests of illegal immigrants are up 43 percent since this time last year, deportation numbers are down, according to The Washington Post.