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Was Immigration Dragnet Too Wide?

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Some immigrant advocates are voicing concern about a federal operation near Chicago that netted dozens of alleged gang members this week.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it has jailed almost 9,000 foreign-born gang members since 2005.

A four-day operation that ended Wednesday targeted immigrants with gang ties in suburbs and towns northwest of Chicago. ICE, as the agency is known, says 42 of the 49 detainees have criminal histories.

That’s got Tara Magner of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center wondering about the other seven.

MAGNER: ICE may go looking for a particular individual but they pick up others who happen to be in the area they’ve entered.

Magner says immigrants without gang affiliations don’t deserve to be swept up and deported.

ICE acknowledges that some of this week’s detainees don’t have any known gang ties. But an agency spokesperson says these individuals are deportable because they’re in the United States illegally.

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