(PHILLY) — A two-week sweep across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware had 248 foreign nationals arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in an operation aimed at “criminal aliens,” immigration fugitives, and repeat border crossers, the Philadelphia ICE field office announced Monday.
While many of the suspects were targeted for arrest in the Feb. 27-March 10 action, one person who was encountered unexpectedly, a 34-year-old Guatemalan man, “had been deported … on two prior occasions and had a conviction for sexual abuse of a minor,” acting field office director Jennifer Ritchey said in a statement. He was being held without bail in the York County Prison.
Ritchey highlighted the ongoing strain between ICE and Philadelphia, a so-called sanctuary city, which limits its cooperation with federal immigration agents. She said ICE had issued detainers — requests to hold prisoners beyond their normal release times — for several of the people arrested but that Philadelphia “released the individuals from custody” instead of honoring the requests. She said that created “a situation that puts the public at unnecessary risk.”