U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 153 undocumented immigrants across Southeast Texas over a 12 day long sweep that ended Friday, according to the federal agency. The vast majority of those immigrants were picked up in San Antonio.
In total, ICE arrested 62 people in San Antonio, 24 in Austin and Waco (combined), 29 in Laredo, and 38 in Harlingen. All of them had some kind of criminal background, according to ICE, but the severity of their crimes vary wildly.
"Our operations improve overall public safety by removing these criminals from our streets, and ultimately from our country," said Daniel Bible, ICE field office director in San Antonio, in a Monday press release.
According to the ICE report, some immigrants were arrested for resisting an officer, possessing "dangerous drugs," or a past DUI, while others had been convicted of domestic violence, sexual assault and aggravated assault with a weapon. The feds offered no breakdown of which crimes dominated the sweep, but did highlight the most extreme examples.
This sweep is only the latest of recent ICE round-ups following President Donald Trump's inauguration that have been put immigrant communities on alert. While these kind of sweeps aren't necessarily unusual in South Texas, immigration experts say the size of this one in particular is troubling.
"It's a significant number," said Denise Gillman, director of the immigration law clinic at University of Texas at Austin.
The last time Texas saw an ICE raid close to this size was in February
, when agents arrested more than 50 immigrants in a whirlwind, 3-day period.
Gillman is hesitant to say this sweep should be a cause of alarm
, or if it means the Trump Administration is following through in it's ominous threats of mass deportation.
"It seems the government has been using raids as a way to intimidate and frighten people," she said. "But this is a big number. It's definitely in line with the statements ICE has been making."