Washington, Feb 14: US President Donald Trump has defended the ongoing crackdown on criminals under which over 680 people have been arrested, saying it is part of an effort to stop "wrong people" from entering America and to keep the country safe and secure. Trump said he was keeping his campaign promise and the Americans were happy with the drive.
"We have really done a great job. We're actually taking people that are criminals, very, very hardened criminals in some cases with a tremendous track record of abuse and problems and we're getting them out and that's what I said I would do," Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He said his administration will "vigorously" pursue the policy to keep America safe from problems other countries are grappling with. "We want to have a big, beautiful open door and we want people to come in - come in our country. But we cannot let the wrong people in and I will not allow that to happen during this administration. And people, citizens of our country want that and that's their attitude too," he said on Monday.
"We are getting such praise for our stance and it's a stance of common sense. Maybe a certain toughness but it's really more than toughness, it's a stance of common sense and we are going to pursue it vigorously and we don't want to have our country have the kinds of problems that you're witnessing taking place not only here but all over the world," he said.
"We won't stand for it. We won't put up with it. We're just not going to let it happen. We're going to give ourselves every bit of chance so that things go well for the United States, and they will go well," Trump said. US Secretary of Homeland Security Gen (rtd) John Kelly said that Immigration and Customs enforcement (ICE) officers in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City had arrested more than 680 posed a threat to public safety, border security or the nation's immigration system.
"Of those arrested, approximately 75 per cent 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," he said.
ICE conducts these kind of targeted enforcement operations regularly as it has for many years. The focus of these operations is consistent, targeted arrests carried out by ICE's Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis, he said. Kelly said the ICE operation launched last week targeted public safety threats such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated nation's immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.
"Trump has been clear in affirming the critical mission of DHS in protecting the nation and directed our department to focus on removing illegal aliens who have violated our immigration laws, with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety, have been charged with criminal offences, have committed immigration violations or have been deported and re-entered the country illegally," he said.