More than 240 people were taken into custody in a four-day sweep of immigrants with criminal records across Southern California during the last week of August.
The sweep ended on Aug. 27 with 244 foreign nationals who were in the country illegally in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Most of the immigrants had at least one felony conviction on their records, according to authorities.
The enforcement action was the most successful four-day sweep of its kind in the area, ICE said.
Of those taken, 191 were from Mexico. The remaining were from 21 other countries, including France, Ghana, Peru and Thailand, according to the agency.
Fox News reported 56 percent had been convicted of violent felonies, weapons or sexual abuse charges.
The others had prior convictions for “significant or multiple misdemeanors,” ICE said.
Previously, it has been easy for ICE agents to find and deport immigrants convicted of crimes. The agency simply had to contact a local jail and ask that the inmate be held until ICE could come get the prisoner.
Last year the practice was found illegal by a federal judge, which prompted hundreds of counties to stop agreeing to detainer requests, reports Los Angeles Times.
“One of the challenges we’re facing is because of state law and local policies, more individuals who are potentially deportable with significant criminal histories are being released onto the street instead of being turned over to ICE,” Virginia Kice, an agency spokeswoman, said.
Now ICE officials say they must rely on expensive and dangerous manhunts or sweeps that last for day.
ICE's National Fugitive Operations program led the sweep. It finds at-large criminals to deport.
About 78 percent of the 27,000 arrests made by ICE last fiscal year were performed on people who had previous conviction, ICE data indicates.
Not everyone arrested in the sweep had a history of violent felonies. Those individuals swept up that had never been deported before, had never illegally re-entered the United States, or are not facing new charges will get to have an administrative hearing before a judge.
“I think to infer from (the sweep) that potentially foreign nationals are committing more crimes is flawed,” Kice said.