ICE Raid Nets 95 Arrests in Southeast Texas [UPDATED]

In keeping with President Donald Trump's wish to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Houston field office has announced a five-day operation that netted 95 people.

Of those ICE detained, 82 had criminal convictions; the other 13 either had re-entered the country illegally or were just here illegally, said spokesman Gregory Palmore. Fifty-nine were picked up in Harris County, with 13 in Montgomery and seven in Brazoria and the rest scattered around other surrounding counties.

ICE only provided a partial list of the crimes the arrested undocumented immigrants committed; the Houston Press has requested a full breakdown. While some crimes listed were violent, some appear to be only "illegal entry" — the misdemeanor of crossing the border without papers.

UPDATE, 11:02 a.m.: Of the list of 82 criminal convictions ICE sent to us, the majority, close to one third, were DWIs. Fifteen were for drug possession, with six being for marijuana possession. And ten were for assault. Only seven were arrests for violent crimes. (There appears to be a discrepancy in the breakdown of crimes according to ICE. While this list contains 82 crimes which would appear to correlate to the 82 people with criminal convictions, the following people ICE highlighted in its press release had multiple convictions. ICE explained that the list includes only one crime per person, not their entire criminal histories.)

Also, not a single person was charged with "illegal entry," despite ICE listing this as one of the convictions in its press release.
ICE did choose five people to highlight in its release: They include a 55-year-old Salvadoran national previously convicted of manslaughter and deported in 1987; a 32-year-old Mexican national who is allegedly a Barrio North Side gang member with convictions for marijuana possession, unlawfully carrying a firearm and evading arrest, who was deported in 2006; a 44-year-old Mexican national with past convictions for aggravated robbery, car theft and illegally carrying a weapon; a 68-year-old Cuban national previously convicted of aggravated robbery and burglary of a habitation; and a 25-year-old Mexican national with a past conviction for indecency with a child by exposure.

In January, Trump signed an executive order directing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to publicize raids targeting immigrants convicted of crimes, and then listing those crimes. The order also is the impetus behind DHS's periodic reports releasing a list of law enforcement jurisdictions that arrest people for crimes then refuse to hold them in jail extra days so ICE can pick them up. (Travis County stopped doing this unless the defendant was an accused murderer, rapist or repeat smuggler).

The five-day raid, which concluded April 21, was one of several large-scale enforcement operations ICE has waged throughout Texas. In mid-February, ICE arrested 51 undocumented immigrants in the Austin area. Fewer than half had a criminal record. ICE later conducted another raid in the Austin and San Antonio areas, in early April, netting 153 arrests. ICE said all had past criminal convictions.

Read our cover story this week on the economic impact of mass deportations.
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Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn