In 2015, ICE announced the arrests of more than 2,000 people nationwide in one week, based on their criminal record.
Former ICE Chief Sarah Saldana, who led the agency for two years under the Obama administration, said money and litigation will create obstacles for Trump as he attempts to enforce the policy.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly listens to U.S. President Donald Trump during a meeting with cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2017.
The arrests have raised fear and concerns among the immigrant community in Austin. The same was the case in NY and San Antonio, with 61 of the 92 individuals arrested having prior criminal convictions.
The ICE statement calls reports of checkpoints and sweeps false, dangerous, and irresponsible.
Initially ICE and DHS spokespeople pushed back on the reports of increased enforcement actions, saying any operations taking place were routine enforcement measures. Trump has reportedly vowed to deport up to three million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. For example in the Midwest, where arrests were made in six states, 163 of the individuals who were apprehended had criminal convictions, according to an ICE fact sheet.More news: Over 200 Whales Freed In New Zealand Stranding
Meanwhile Kelly characterized the raids as "consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE's Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis". "Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!"
Although ICE's immigration arrests under Trump do not appear to have intensified, his signing of an executive order that suggests ICE expands the criteria for what an undocumented immigrant should be targeted for arrest for.
As part of the effort to resist Trump's crackdown, immigrant youth group United We Dream also launched a #HereToStay campaign, which asks supporters of human and civil rights to pledge to show up in person when ICE comes to deport members of their community.
"It's a very thriving corridor, and now we're seeing vacancies, traffic counts lower than the past, business owners are reporting 15- to 20-percent declines in business sales, said chamber president Jaime Di Paulo".
According to ICE, those arrested who will not be prosecuted for a crime will instead be processed for deportation.
The church and other sanctuary churches say if necessary they will allow people trying to avoid deportation to live in their churches. Immigrants who have "committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense" are now priorities under the order, even if they have yet to be convicted.
Both the Bush and Obama administrations conducted sweeping enforcement actions within immigrant communities.