WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 100 illegal immigrants living in Virginia and Washington D.C. were arrested this month and now face deportation as part of an enforcement operation targeting “dangerous, criminal aliens.”
On Friday, officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) concluded Eagle’s Shield, an operation designed to target aliens deemed to pose a significant threat to public safety throughout the Virginia and Washington, D.C. region.
In Richmond and the surrounding regions, the operation resulted in 25 arrests including 12 arrested in Chesterfield, five in Henrico, four in Albemarle, one in Spotsylvania, one in Richmond County, one in Prince Edward and one in Hanover.
From July 9 to 20, officers from the ERO Washington Field Office targeted and proceeded to arrest various violent offenders, gang members, sex offenders, fugitives from justice, and those who “otherwise pose a significant public safety threat,” according to ICE officials.
Out of the 132 total arrests made from throughout Virginia and Washington, D.C., 37 arrestees will face criminal charges while the remaining 95 individuals will be processed for removal from the United States.
While ICE officials state that the agency has continually focused its enforcement resources on individuals who “pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security,” negative public reactions to enforcement operations like Eagle’s Shield are held by both immigration rights activists and, more recently, mainstream Democrats.
Those who are opposed to the organization have come to view ICE as a rogue agency that unjustly targets and terrorizes immigrant communities. These feelings are intensified by recent developments in the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy which calls for the prosecution of all individuals who illegally enter the United States. In recent weeks, the policy has fueled the normalization of practices like separating parents from their young children who they have entered the country with.
Earlier this month, more than 2,500 children being held in government custody were awaiting reunification with their parents.
Currently, the Trump Administration is under a court-ordered July 26 deadline to reunite the thousands of immigrant children who have yet to be reunited with their parents.