33 in suburbs arrested in federal immigration sweep

Thirty-three people from the suburbs were arrested this month in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids targeted at undocumented immigrants.

Far more people were arrested in the suburbs than in Chicago, where 15 were arrested in raids that began Feb. 4 and ended Friday, authorities said Monday.

Among those arrested in the suburbs were six in Bensenville, five in Aurora, four in Cicero, two in Addison and one each in Arlington Heights, Bolingbrook, Carpentersville, Elgin, Markham, Melrose Park, Mundelein, Plainfield, Rolling Meadows, Roselle, Skokie, Waukegan, Wheaton, Wheeling, Wood Dale and Hammond, Indiana.

In all, one woman and 47 men were arrested in the Chicago area, authorities said Monday.

Thirty-three had emigrated from Mexico, seven from Guatemala and one each from Canada, Chad, China, the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Iraq, the Philippines and Poland.

Forty-five of the 48 had criminal convictions, including driving under the influence, prostitution, possession of cocaine, burglary, criminal sexual assault, assault and aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, authorities said.

The rest had either been deported and subsequently returned to the U.S. or had been issued a deportation order by a judge.

Illinois and five other Midwestern states accounted for more than one-third of those arrested nationwide.

ICE officers arrested 235 people in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri, out of 680 arrests in the U.S.

President Donald Trump asked the department to focus on people "who have violated our immigration laws, with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety, have been charged with criminal offenses, have committed immigration violations or have been deported and re-entered the country illegally," U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement.

ICE's announcement comes as one suburban advocacy group intends to ask DuPage County to become a "sanctuary county," meaning that local sheriff's police would not assist federal agents in apprehending undocumented people.

Such a move would "really relieve people from the anxiety and fear they feel toward police and agents of the government," Immigrant Solidarity DuPage coordinator Cristóbal Cavazos said.

Under former President Barack Obama, ICE conducted a number of raids early in 2016, which resulted in numerous deportations from Chicago and the suburbs including a Palatine family.

But Trump's travel ban, now suspended, and the ICE arrests are accelerating unease, said Jaime Garcia, executive director of the Elgin-based Centro de Informacion.

"I think fear is more intense," Garcia said. "Right now many people are very afraid. Even people with no cause to be, even legal permanent residents (are afraid) to the extent a lot of people are coming in to become citizens because they're afraid they're going to be deported."

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