SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Three Mexican men who avoided capture during a U.S. immigration operation that a Northern California mayor warned the public about last month have since been arrested on suspicion of other crimes, including robbery, weapons violations and domestic violence, federal officials said.
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan said at a White House roundtable on sanctuary cities Tuesday that the three cases are examples of offenders in the U.S. illegally who have committed other crimes after being released by California authorities who limit cooperation with federal immigration officials.
The four-day California operation drew national attention after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf posted an unprecedented warning on her Twitter account Feb. 24, saying ICE agents were preparing raids in the San Francisco Bay Area and reminding people of their rights under the state’s so-called sanctuary law.
“Since our operation in San Francisco and Oakland, three of the people we couldn’t locate have since reoffended,” Homan said at the law enforcement roundtable.
ICE declined to name the men but provided some information about their cases.
The agency said one of the men, who has been removed from the country three times, was arrested March 2 in Sacramento County on accusations of driving under the influence. He has previous convictions for false imprisonment, DUI and battery on a spouse, ICE said.
Police in Los Banos in the Central Valley arrested a Mexican citizen on March 5 on suspicion of robbery, carrying a concealed weapon, carrying a loaded firearm in a public place, and willful discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, the agency said.
“The individual was previously released back into the community following his arrest for conspiracy to commit crime and vandalism in November 2017 … due to sanctuary policies,” the agency said in a statement.
A third Mexican man was arrested March 10 on suspicion of “corporal injury of spouse.” He has been removed from the United States twice before and has criminal convictions for drug possession, hit-and-run, DUIs with alcohol and drugs, possession of narcotics equipment and other charges, the agency said.
The February operation in California targeted nearly 1,100 people living in the country illegally.
Homan later told Fox News that officers could not find 800 targets because of Schaaf’s warning, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeated the statement, but federal officials have since backed off that claim.
Homan’s claim of the number of targets missed in four days suggests an unusually large operation by the agency’s standards. Two weeks earlier, ICE arrested 212 people in a five-day operation in the Los Angeles area. A Texas operation in February resulted in 145 arrests over seven days.
John Torres, ICE director at the end of President George W. Bush’s administration and the beginning of President Barack Obama’s, said agents generally capture about 40 percent of people they target in such sweeps.