Federal immigration agents on Tuesday announced they arrested 75 undocumented immigrants in North Texas and Oklahoma in an operation last week targeting people with criminal records.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, made the arrests from Monday to Thursday, the agency said.
"This operation clearly fell in the public safety arena where we focus specifically on individuals with criminal convictions," said Marc Moore, the director of ICE’s Dallas field office. "When and where we encounter individuals who are here unlawfully, we'll take appropriate enforcement action."
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Critics say many of those arrested in operations like this have been convicted of non-violent crimes or no crimes at all and the arrests tear families apart.
"They're using that excuse of going after criminals, arresting people who come here to work or live a better life,” said Dallas activist Carlos Quintanilla.
ICE declined to provide a list of cities where the arrests took place but did provide a video of the arrests of a husband and wife in Sherman. Both had drug convictions, the agency said.
The arrests come amid an influx of immigrants crossing the border and a national debate over immigration enforcement.
President Trump threatened a large-scale roundup but then put it on hold for two weeks, he said, to allow Congress to improve immigration laws.
ICE's Dallas director said something has to change.
"I don't think anyone has seen anything like this in modern history in the United States," Moore said. "It's a crisis but it has to be addressed holistically."
Separately, ICE announced 52 arrests in central and south Texas in an "enforcement surge" during the same four-day period.