Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stated on Thursday they arrested nearly 500 "illegal aliens" from major cities such New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.

The raid, also known as "Operation Safe City", spanned four days targeting cities across the nation and ended on Wednesday, according to Fox News. ICE stated they sought illegal immigrants with gang history and criminal charges—no Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), or dreamers, were deported or arrested in this raid.

An ICE news release states 18 of the 498 illegal immigrants arrested had gang affiliations or were members of one. NBC News reported 317 of them had criminal convictions.

Some were previously deported illegal aliens.

ICE arrests have increased by 43 percent in comparison to last year, even though deportations are currently down, according to The Washington Post.

Sanctuary Cities

Some of the cities involved in this raid were "sanctuary cities," which are currently disregarding certain federal immigration policies and President Donald Trump's call to increase deportation.

Leaders of these cities are hoping to protect undocumented peoples who could be deported simply because of their immigrant status or minor lawful offenses. Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned these cities could lose millions in federal grants if they do not comply with the government, according to NBC news.

Before this raid occurred, ICE was about to conduct an operation targeting 8,400 illegal immigrants.

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However, in light of Hurricane Irma and Harvey, the Department of Homeland Security decided to not go through with it, according to NBC News.

Redefining immigration

Illegal immigration and DACA has been widely disputed since Trump took office. His rhetoric and stance towards illegal immigration are arguably violent and harsher than past presidents.

Since his campaign, Trump has vowed to increase deportation and set stricter regulations of who can enter the US. Trump has referred to Mexican immigrants as rapists, murderers, and drug traffickers.

Earlier this month, Trump ended the DACA program. The program protected almost a million young illegal immigrants from being deported after being brought here as children. Congress has until March,2018 to decide if the program should be preserved. If they choose not to act, dreamers will begin losing their statuses and could face deportation or arrest.

Trump emphasized he has great compassion for dreamers, but he believes ending the program is the best choice for the long run.