[JURIST] Over 450 illegal immigrants out of over 750 taken into custody have already been deported by US immigration authorities after a week-long crackdown in five counties in southern California, officials at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] announced Tuesday. Of those taken into custody, 338 were arrested in residential raids and 423 were identified while in jail for other crimes. Those now serving sentences will be transferred to federal detention facilities and will not be deported until finishing their sentences. ICE said in a press statement:
The seven-day effort is the largest single enforcement action carried out nationwide so far under Operation Return to Sender, an ongoing ICE initiative targeting criminal aliens, foreign nationals with final orders of deportation, and other immigration violators. Since its launch in June 2006, Operation Return to Sender has resulted in more than 13,000 arrests nationwide. During that same time period, ICE has also lodged nearly 3,000 immigration detainees against criminal aliens incarcerated in state and local jails across the country ensuring they will come into ICE custody when they complete their sentences.President Bush pressed for comprehensive immigration reform [JURIST news archive], including stricter enforcement of existing immigration laws, during Tuesday's State of the Union address [text; JURIST report]. AP has more.