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Feds snare nearly 3,000 criminal immigrants

A month after promising to focus on deporting the most serious criminal immigrants, the Obama administration says it has rounded up nearly 3,000 criminals.
/ Source: msnbc.com news services

A month after promising to focus on deporting the most serious criminal immigrants, the Obama administration says it has rounded up nearly 3,000 criminals.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Wednesday they have arrested 2,901 criminal immigrants in the last week.

The seven-day operation involved arrests in all 50 states and four U.S. territories and is the biggest operation of its kind, ICE said in a statement.

All those arrested had criminal convictions. More than 1,600 had felony convictions, including manslaughter, attempted murder and drug trafficking.

Forty-two of those arrested were gang members, and 151 were sex offenders.

The arrests come just a month after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that immigration officials would focus enforcement efforts on serious criminals and delay deportation cases for most non-criminal immigrants who don't pose a threat to public safety or national security.

Homeland Security has been widely criticized for using fingerprints collected in local jails to identify and deport people arrested for minor traffic offenses and other misdemeanors. Napolitano has promised a case-by-case review of deportation cases to look for serious criminals to deport.

"The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE's ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation's immigration system," ICE Director John Morton said in the statement.