US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested at least 244 undocumented immigrants from 21 countries.
The immigrants, who were reportedly all convicted criminals mostly from Mexico, were living in the Los Angeles area, California, US authorities said on Monday.
Fifty-six percent of the immigrants had been convicted of crimes, including child sex crimes, weapons charges and drug violations and others had “significant or multiple misdemeanors.”
Four of them were previously deported but returned to the US, including a man who was convicted in 2002 of sexual abuse with force.
Another one had been formerly sentenced to 10 years in jail for sexually abusing two children.
The sting operation, which ended on Thursday, was part of the Obama administration’s plan to apprehend potentially dangerous immigrants.
“This operation exemplifies ICE’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing convicted criminals and public safety threats for apprehension and removal,” said ICE Field Office Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations David Jennings.
“By taking these individuals off our streets and removing them from the country, we are making our communities safer for everyone,” he added.
The operation came as the issue of border security has become a hot topic of debate among Republican presidential candidates, who are critical of President Barack Obama’s immigration policy.
In November, Obama announced a program of “deferred action,” which would allow approximately 45 percent of undocumented immigrants to legally remain and work in the United States.
Republicans, including presidential candidate Donald Trump, have called for construction of a towering wall along the US border with Mexico, where millions of immigrants have entered the nation illegally.