U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 26 illegal immigrants in Minnesota in the past week.
The arrests were part of a broader operation in the Midwest, reports the Pioneer Press. In all, 86 foreign nationals were arrested in Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
A 35-year-old Nigerian national was arrested in Eden Prairie. He was previously convicted of terroristic threats stemming from a sexual assault.
Of the 86 arrested by ICE, 52 had criminal convictions in addition to their immigration status, reports the Pioneer Press. Ten were permanent lawful residents with criminal convictions, and seven were immigration fugitives with outstanding removal orders from a federal judge.
The Star Tribune reports that immigration advocates have been pointing to the sweep as evidence of a shift in federal policy towards harsher enforcement. The paper also notes that the only significant difference in the Trump administration’s approach is a new priority on going after immigrants who have been deported previously. Twenty-three of the 86 arrested in the past week had been previously deported and reentered the country illegally.
“ICE does not conduct random sweeps, checkpoints or raids that target aliens indiscriminately,” the agency said in a statement about the arrests. “All ICE operations are targeted based on investigative leads.”
ICE also told the Star Tribune that the Minnesota enforcement push was much smaller than operations in other states recently. It also targeted those with criminal convictions and no random sweeps or checkpoints were conducted over the course of the operation.
This follows a February ICE operation where nine people were arrested in Burnsville and Apple Valley.