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3,168 undocumented immigrants held in largest-ever sweep

Gregory Bull / AP

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents take a suspect into custody as part of a nationwide immigration sweep in Chula Vista, Calif., on Friday.

Federal agents arrested more than 3,100 unauthorized immigrants last week in the country’s biggest-ever operation targeting criminal and fugitive immigrants for deportation, immigration officials said Monday.

From last Saturday to Thursday, agents in all 50 states used intelligence to track down certain immigrants.

The agents started before dawn; a supervisor would brief them about the person they aimed to arrest that day. In Dallas, a video from the raid on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website shows a supervisor describing a man who had been deported before and who had a drunk-driving conviction.


The agents then headed to the person’s home, hoping to reach them before the person could leave for the day.

The roundup was the third “Cross Check” sweep since May 2011. In last week's raid, 1,900 agents arrested 3,168 immigrants, 90 percent of them men.

"These are people we do not want roaming our streets," John Morton, director of ICE, said at a news conference, according to Reuters. He said those arrested included almost 1,500 people with felony convictions, including murder and kidnapping.

Among those arrested were Carlington David Richards, 34, of Jamaica, who was living in Federal Way, Wash. Richards had recently moved to the U.S. and is wanted in Jamaica for murder, according to ICE.

Jose Angel Duran-Ramos, 66, of Mexico, was living in El Paso, Texas, and was convicted of murder in 1984 and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Veasna Uy, 34, of Cambodia, was living in Long Beach, Calif., and was convicted of manslaughter, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in 2000.

Gillian Christensen, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, told msnbc.com that the agency has focused on deporting known criminals since President Barack Obama took office. Now, 50 percent of deported immigrants have prior criminal records. In 2008, about 30 percent had criminal records.

There were 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2008, about 4 percent of the nation’s population, according to the Pew Research Center. Last year, the service deported 396,000 people.

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