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ACLU concerned over recent immigration arrests

American Civil Liberties Union officials say the arrest of more than 400 illegal immigrants in San Diego County during the last few weeks is less about apprehending criminals than it is about fear and political points. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

In an operation called Return to Sender , Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents set out to arrest illegal immigrants who they knew had criminal pasts. Agents found very few of the people they were looking for, but arrested 400 other illegal immigrants in the process.

Kevin Keenan is Executive Director of the ACLU in San Diego. He says going after criminal immigrants is a pretext.

Keenan: "They're targeting neighborhoods and immigrants generally. ICE is doing this to rack up some short term political gain. But it comes at a cost. It creates fear and unrest in our communities. And, we're concerned, costs for people's civil liberties and civil rights.

Federal officials defend their operation. They sat they cannot ignore illegal immigrants they come across in the course of their work. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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