Federal immigration authorities have made a series of arrests in at least six different states over the last two days, as a result of raids that appear to be targeting undocumented immigrants.
According to The Washington Post, immigration lawyers and advocates say they've documented raids of "unusual intensity" executed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in several states since Thursday.
Specifically, those raids have targeted communities in Southern California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, New York, and Kansas. ICE checkpoints "targeting immigrants for random ID checks" have also been reported in both North Carolina and Austin, TX.
Several outlets have speculated that the recent wave of raids is directly tied to an executive order issued by Donald Trump last week, which establishes the deportation of a huge number of undocumented immigrants as a high priority. Trump has also threatened numerous times to defund "sanctuary cities" that protect immigrant populations by refusing to enforce specific federal immigration laws.
Immigration officials have vocally denied any connection between the raids and any recent policy shift. Gillian Christensen, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, confirmed raids on homes and workplaces in Atlanta and the Los Angeles area, but insisted that they were simply part of ICE's "routine" enforcement actions.
Following a Los Angeles area sweep that resulted in over 160 arrests, ICE Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations David Marin echoed those sentiments, saying reports on random sweeps and checkpoints were "all false" and "definitely dangerous and irresponsible." The raids, Marin said, were meant to target undocumented immigrants with past criminal convictions, a description he claims applied to about 75% of those arrested.