New data published this week show the number of people arrested during immigration raids in the Austin-San Antonio area last year was more than twice the figure that federal officials initially had reported.
The Texas Observer reported that new data obtained from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement through a public information request showed the agency arrested 132 people in the region from Feb. 9 to Feb. 12. Sixty of them had no criminal convictions, according to the data.
The data sharply contrasts with information ICE provided last year. When discussing the raids, the agency issued a public statement on Feb. 13 saying that “a total of 51 foreign nationals were arrested this week in San Antonio and the surrounding areas during a targeted enforcement operation.” The nationwide operation was conducted on Feb. 9 and 10, ICE officials have said.
Austin is part of ICE’s San Antonio sector, which also includes Del Rio, Laredo and Waco.
In a statement Wednesday, Daniel Bible, ICE field office director for the San Antonio sector, said arrests continued in the area after the national operation had ended.
“Since ICE San Antonio had additional criminal targets remaining, its officers continued conducting local operations arresting 81 additional criminal aliens and immigration fugitives in the Austin area on Feb. 11 and 12,” Bible said. “However, since the national operation had ended Feb. 10, the arrest stats for the Feb. 11 and 12 regional operation were not included in the national results that were published.”
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, issued a statement Wednesday saying that federal officials had misled the public.
“Public information shows that the February 2017 ICE raids that terrorized Austin’s immigrant community likely lasted longer and resulted in significantly more arrests than previously reported,” Rodriguez said. “I am deeply troubled by the federal agency’s lack of transparency, accountability and integrity in this matter, and I intend on setting the record straight.”