U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continue to criticize New York’s “sanctuary city” status as they arrest over 200 immigrants for violating U.S. immigration laws.

The field office director at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in New York has claimed that the city’s sanctuary status is protecting criminals among its immigrant communities.

Thomas R. Decker made the comments after 225 immigrants were arrested by the ERO in New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley over a six-day period ending on April 14, 2018. Among the nationalities arrested were Irish citizens living undocumented in the U.S.

Eighty percent are believed to have had prior criminal convictions or had charges pending for offenses including child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault.

Read more: Two Cork boys' shocking tale of interrogation by ICE goes viral

ICE arrests 225 during Operation Keep Safe in NY: 180 were convicted criminals or had criminal charges pending, more than 80 had been issued a final order of removal & failed to depart the US, or had been previously removed from the US & returned illegally https://t.co/zbPQFRUDdD pic.twitter.com/KgsckF2xtF

— ICE (@ICEgov) April 17, 2018

"ICE continues to face significant obstacles with policies created by local officials which hinder cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement. Yet, with the tireless efforts of the men and women of ICE, this operation was a great success," said Decker.  

"The fact is that a so-called ‘sanctuary city’ does not only provide refuge to those who are here against immigration law but also provides protections for criminal aliens who prey on the people in their own communities by committing crimes at all levels.  

“ICE is committed to enforcing the immigration laws set forth by Congress with integrity, despite the push-back and rhetoric within the city they serve."

During the six-day-long “Operation Keep Safe” in New York State, over 200 immigrants were arrested for violations of immigration laws. ICE state that more than 180 of those arrested were convicted criminals or had criminal charges pending and that more than 80 had been issued a final order of removal and failed to depart the United States, or had been previously removed from the United States and returned illegally. They added that several immigrants arrested had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault, or had past convictions for significant or multiple misdemeanors.

Read more: Undocumented Irish people living in Boston subjected to crackdown from ICE

Image: iStock.

Image: iStock.

Irish was just one among a list of 51 nationalities arrested including Argentinian, Brazilian, Dutch, Pakistani, and Turkish. Those arrested included a 36-year-old Dominican national now living in Manhattan, wanted in his home country for charges of Homicide, Administrative Corruption, and Accepting Bribes; and a 56-year-old Haitian national, who has convictions of Manslaughter 2nd Degree.

In a statement from ICE, it claimed that while it “focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security … ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”

Image: iStock.

Image: iStock.

The statement heavily criticized the city of New York for its sanctuary status, claiming that a “potential public safety threat” is being created by local authorities who are refusing the detain those they know to be undocumented.

“More than 60 individuals arrested during this operation were previously released from local law enforcement on an active detainer. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) places detainers on individuals who have been arrested on local criminal charges and who are suspected of being deportable so that ICE can take custody of that person when he or she is released from local custody,” the statement read.  

Read more: Undocumented Irishman brought to USA aged 12 faces deportation to Dublin

ICE arrests 225 during Operation Keep Safe in New York: More than 60 individuals arrested during this operation were previously released from local law enforcement on an active detainer https://t.co/zbPQFSce5b pic.twitter.com/SO5EpFkMRe

— ICE (@ICEgov) April 17, 2018

“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.”

In January, NYPD officers were told not to voluntarily cooperate with most federal immigration enforcement activities going forward. Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the time that they would not be “a part of a federal deportation force.”

The sentiment was reinforced by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs this week after Operation Keep Safe.

“New York City will work with federal partners in the interest of public safety, but not to be an arm of immigration enforcement,” spokeswoman Rosemary Boeglin said.

What do you think of New York's sanctuary status? Let us know in the comments section.