Nearly 250 people were arrested in the last two weeks in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a press release issued by the federal agency this week.
Few details about individual arrests were released, though ICE did provide information about broader reasons for the arrests and detainments.
- Fifty people arrested previously have been removed from the United States.
- One hundred twenty have a conviction on their record and/or pending charges.
The agency's active field office director, Jennifer Ritchey, said in a statement that several of those arrested had detainers issued for them that the city of Philadelphia "failed to honor."
“In the Philadelphia area, ICE arrested several at large criminal aliens in which the agency had issued detainers but the City of Philadelphia failed to honor them and released the individuals from custody — a situation that puts the public at unnecessary risk," she said. ICE will continue to conduct targeted enforcement operations, whether local jurisdictions intend to cooperate with ICE or not.”
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A spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney, who has long objected to federal demands that Philadelphia law enforcement hold undocumented immigrants, said "ICE continues to ask us to hold people without probably cause or without a warrant."
"Like ICE, we want to keep Philadelphians safe but we can't do that if we are asked to violate the Constitution and if we are asked to destroy the trust our officers have built with communities," Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said.
Hitt added that ICE did not provide specifics about those arrested, so it remains unclear exactly who had been detained or where they were arrested.
The largest number of those arrested in the three-state operation that began Feb. 27 and ended March 10 were reportedly in Pennsylvania.
Some arrests occurred in Bucks County, according to photos provided by ICE, and some of those detained are now being held at York County Prison, one of the region's federally-designated immigrant detention centers.