States and cities that have openly opposed the government's deportation initiatives of illegal immigrants were the targets of federal raids this week that arrested almost 500 undocumented immigrants.

The four-day operation that Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE) officials carried out between Monday and Thursday was called 'Operation Safe City' and targeted Washington D.C., New York, Denver, Philadelphia, Baltimore, as well as Los Angeles.

The massive operation was further extended to cover Massachusets, Oregon, Illinois, and California's Bay Area, Fox News reported.

Renewed efforts

ICE Acting Director Tom Homan, in a statement, said that it was not unusual for ICE operations to carry out huge raids like the one this week. He said "sanctuary" jurisdictions do not cooperate with ICE as they are denied access to jails and prisons.

The statement added that the denied access leads to illegal immigrants being shielded from immigration enforcement, making the areas attractive dens for illegal immigrants who then troop to those places in huge numbers.

To counter the problem, Homan said that ICE was forced to allocate more resources and conduct large-scale operations, like the one this week, in those communities.

This month, Homeland Security and ICE officials had planned an even bigger operation that was to target over 8,400 undocumented immigrants countrywide.

But the raid was canceled at the last minute in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.


According to ICE officials, a total of 498 illegal immigrants were arrested in "Operation Safe City." 317 of the total arrested had past criminal convictions. Some were affiliated with gangs, while others had been previously deported.

Fox News reported that most of the criminal convictions that those arrested faced were drunk driving, drug-related offenses, and assault charges.

Most of those netted in the raids, according to ICE officials, originated from India, Mexico, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.

Federal funding

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has continuously warned sanctuary cities that they faced the risk of missing out on millions in federal funding if they continued with their policies of giving illegal immigrants a safe haven.

In a visit to Portland earlier this month, the AG said that in order to win the war on crime, the government needed to use "every lawful tool" at its disposal.

Sanctuary cities received a temporary reprieve two weeks ago when a US District Judge in Illinois ruled that safety grants to Chicago could not be withheld by the Justice Department due to a reluctance by officials to implement certain immigration policies.