More than 600 arrested in US immigration clampdown

12:25 pm on 14 February 2017

Immigration officers in the United States have arrested more than 680 people in recent operations, 75 percent of whom have been convicted of crimes.

The arrests have sparked alarm among immigrant rights advocates.

Protestors march in opposition to President Trump's executive order temporarily banning visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Protesters have been alarmed at Donald Trump's immigration stance. Photo: AFP

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement that crimes committed by the illegal immigrants ranged from homicide to driving under the influence of alcohol.

He said the operations were routine and consistent with regular operations carried out by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigration advocates have said they are raids that do not take into account an immigrant's threat level or family ties to the United States.

President Donald Trump promised to deport 2 million to 3 million migrants with criminal records on taking office.

Former President Barack Obama also targeted criminal migrants for deportations, but his administration did not consider low-level offenses such as driving under the influence of alcohol to be a deportable offense.

At a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday (local time), Mr Trump said his administration had "really done a great job" in its recent arrests of immigrants.

"We're actually taking people that are criminals, very, very, hardened criminals in some cases with a tremendous track record of abuse and problems," Mr Trump said.

The immigrants' arrests followed Mr Trump's 27 January executive order temporarily banning visa holders from seven countries and all refugees from entering the United States. That order was suspended by a US district judge, in a ruling upheld by a federal appeals court.

- Reuters

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