DHS confirms ‘targeted enforcement operations,’ but says none were in D.C. area

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly released a statement this afternoon confirming immigration raids were conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement across the country last week. However none of the operations listed in the statement took place in the Washington D.C. area, which is contrary to reports of immigration enforcement sweeps in Fairfax County last week. 

Kelly’s statement comes after days of reports of increased immigration sweeps across the country. Initially ICE and DHS spokespeople pushed back on the reports of increased enforcement actions, saying any operations taking place were routine enforcement measures. But President Donald Trump seemed to contradict this when he tweeted about a “crackdown on illegal criminals” on Sunday morning. 

“ICE officers in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City areas of responsibility arrested more than 680 individuals who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” Kelly said in his statement. “Of those arrested, approximately 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges.”

On Friday, The Washington Post reported that raids of increased intensity were being reported in cities around the country, as well as in Northern Virginia. But multiple Fairfax County and state officials have not been able to confirm rumors of immigration enforcement raids in the Richmond Highway area.  The Fairfax County Police were also not informed of any raids in the county by federal agencies last week, according to FCPD spokesman Don Gotthardt. 

Multiple news outlets, including WUSA9, have reported than an apartment complex in the Annandale area was on edge after “a large law enforcement presence” was seen there last week. 

Reached via email, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initially would not say if their agents conducted any operations in the county last week. The spokeswoman later clarified that the actions in the Washington area were unrelated to the national operation, and did not say where they occured.

“While the Washington, D.C. field office made routine immigration enforcement arrests last week, [t]hey did not fall under this operational umbrella,” the spokeswoman said.