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ICE arrests more than 1000 people in targeted gang operation

In a press conference today, ICE announced the results of a six-week operation targeting transnational gangs, led by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI, a division of ICE).

The agency said that 76 were arrested in San Antonio and south Texas.

Unlike the agency's immigration section, HSI has broad powers to enforce hundreds of federal laws on crimes like child exploitation, human smuggling, and drug and weapons trafficking.Its agents routinely arrest USA citizens.

According to ICE, 280 arrests were soley immigration-related.

Of all those arrested, 933 people were USA citizens and 445 people were foreign nationals from 21 countries in South America, Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, officials said.

Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said that violent street gangs are the "biggest threat facing our communities". When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE's ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission. "Our efforts to dismantle gangs are much more effective in areas where partnership with local law enforcement is strongest".

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A total of 1,378 suspects were arrested, with 1,095 confirmed gang members. He especially drew a hard line on gang members, saying, "All illegal aliens in gangs should be apprehended and deported".

ICE says there were 17 total gang arrests made by the D.C. field office, and 35 made by the Baltimore field office.

The majority, 1,095, of those arrested during the March 26-May 6 operation were confirmed gang members with many coming from the Bloods, the Crips, and MS-13. "Since the start of DACA in 2012, DHS has terminated deferred action for approximately 1,500 recipients due to criminality or gang affiliation concerns".

Ten arrested crossed the border as unaccompanied minors, including nine as gang members. The Sureños and MS-13 originated in Southern California.

The arrests mostly took place in the Houston, New York, Atlanta and Newark, New Jersey, areas.

A majority of the arrests - 933 out of the 1,378 - are USA citizens, officials said.

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