ICE official explains why undocumented immigrant was targeted in recent raid

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MILWAUKEE -- There is more fallout now in the ICE arrest of an undocumented immigrant in Milwaukee.

ICE arrest of Jose De La Cruz-Espinosa

The incident sparked controversy when video surfaced of agents taking the man into custody in front of his family -- and with help from Milwaukee police. Even Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has called for the Fire and Police Commission to review the incident. But now, ICE officials say they had no choice in part because of sanctuary communities' policies and practices.

Four days after Jose De La Cruz-Espinosa was arrested by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents on Milwaukee's south side, ICE officials are now explaining why the undocumented immigrant was targeted.

Robert Guadian

"The people arrested by ICE had a criminal conviction, a pending criminal charge, had illegally re-entered the United States after being previously removed or were an immigration fugitive," said Robert Guadian, Chicago Field Office Director for ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations.

Guadian declined to comment in which particular circumstance applies to De La Cruz-Espinosa -- only saying he was among nearly 100 people taken into custody in Wisconsin this week from uncooperative jurisdictions. Guadian said the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office has ignored all of ICE's 88  immigration detainer requests so far this year.

"When sanctuary laws and policies prevent local jails from honoring our detainers, ICE has no choice but to locate and arrest these released criminal aliens," Guadian said.

The public and highly emotional incident sparked protests at Milwaukee City Hall on Thursday.

Video of the arrest also depicts Milwaukee police on the scene. It is proof, critics say, that MPD is working with ICE.

Guadian said ICE will continue with these targeted efforts. But he said police are not involved -- only notified when agents are in the area.

"We never ask local law enforcement to engage in immigration arrests, ever," Guadian said.

MPD said De La Cruz-Espinosa was on probation for illegally concealing a firearm -- and that officers only assisted in the arrest when the Department of Corrections also issued a warrant for his arrest for a probation violation. What that violation is -- is unknown.

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