U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested 153 illegal immigrants in Texas last month as part of standard targeted enforcement operations, according to a press release Monday.
The 12-day operation lasted from March 20 to 31 and stretched across Austin, San Antonio, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley, all located in South Texas. Immigrants who had illegally re-entered the U.S. after being deported, people with criminal records and fugitives of the law were targeted in the busts.
"ICE's primary immigration enforcement efforts target convicted criminal aliens," Daniel Bible, field office director for ERO in San Antonio, said in a statement. "Consequently, our operations improve overall public safety by removing these criminals from our streets, and ultimately from our country."
The most arrests - 62 people - were made in San Antonio, Texas. Another 24 men and women were arrested in Austin, 29 in Laredo and 38 in Harlingen, located in the Rio Grande Valley. Of the more than 150 people taken into custody, 138 were men and 15 were women.
Approximately 137 of the total number had criminal histories that included convictions of aggravated assault with a weapon, aggravated assault of a child, driving under the influence, sexual assault, burglary, robbery, resisting officer, vehicular manslaughter, alien smuggling, domestic violence and drug possession.
More than 90 percent of the arrestees were originally from Mexican. Seven people were from Honduras, three from Guatemala, two from Canada, and one from El Salvador.
Last fiscal year, ICE conducted 240,255 removals nationwide. Last month's busts in Texas will contribute to 2017 numbers.
The move is one of many since President Trump signed an executive order directing immigration agents to fully implement the laws outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, prompting some to label the operations as an inaugural move to deport illegal aliens.