SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
After his election, President Trump promised to deport 2 to 3 million people in this country who were here illegally and had committed crimes. This week, federal authorities launched raids across the country that targeted immigrants who have criminal convictions. But as NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, many immigrants' advocates say that people without criminal records have been caught up in the raids, too.
RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: News of the raids emerged from at least seven states - California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, New York and Kansas. By late Friday, immigration officials were scurrying to contain the rumors about who they were targeting and why. There were no immediate figures offered about the number of people apprehended nationwide, but they were likely in the hundreds. In Southern California alone, ICE field director David Marin said 161 people had been arrested and most had felony records. He's speaking here in a press teleconference.
(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)
DAVID MARIN: Those felons had prior convictions which included sex offenses, domestic violence, assault, robbery and weapons violations, just to name a few.
GONZALES: Marin said the raids were routine surge operations that had been in the planning for weeks before President Trump issued his executive order which expands the government's deportation priorities. But many immigrant advocates say that in the current climate, the raids were anything but routine.
DAVID ABUD: What they're trying to do is a really concerted effort to instill fear and terrorize our communities, especially immigrant communities.
GONZALES: David Abud is an organizer with the National Day Labor Organizing Network based in Los Angeles.
ABUD: You know, it's a way in which Trump and ICE are trying to retaliate, especially toward sanctuary jurisdictions - you know, places that have called themselves sanctuaries.
GONZALES: Around the country, there were anecdotal reports of ICE staging traffic stops and randomly sweeping people suspected of being in this country illegally, but David Marin of ICE says such reports were dangerous and irresponsible. Richard Gonzales, NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.