U.S. immigration agents are planning nationwide raids next week to arrest, among others, teenagers who entered the country without guardians and are suspected gang members, in a widening of President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigrants.
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The raids are set to begin on Sunday and continue through Wednesday, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters. The teenagers targeted will be 16- and 17-years-old.
The raids represent a sharp departure from practices during the presidency of Barack Obama. Under Obama, minors could be targeted for deportation if they had been convicted of crimes, but were not arrested simply for suspected gang activity or membership.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that a person can be identified as a gang member if they meet two or more criteria, including having gang tattoos, frequenting an area notorious for gangs and wearing gang apparel.
The agency said it does not comment on plans for future law enforcement operations, but that it focuses on individuals who pose a threat to national security and public safety.