NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Nearly 40 foreign nationals were detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in New York City, according to a memo released by organization.

“In a memo dated Saturday, February 11th, ICE claimed that these arrests were part of “routine, daily targeted operations” and noted that additional persons encountered during these operations would, “when appropriated [sic], arrested by ICE.” ICE has already confirmed operations in five other states last week,” the New York Immigration Coalition said in a statement released on Saturday.

While it’s unclear how many of those detained have criminal records, immigration advocates say the community is scared, WCBS 880’s Myles Miller reported. 

“They’re terrified, there’s complete panic,” Camille Mackler, of the New York Immigration Coalition, said.

Mackler said she’s spent the past few days calming down those who are worried, and combating misinformation.

According to the ICE memo, the operation “targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, and individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who have re-entered the country after being deported and and immigration fugitives ordered deported by federal immigration judges.”

The actions have brought criticism from immigration activists in the area.

“We are horrified and angered by the ICE raids and activity in the greater New York area that has led to the arrest and detainment of 40 people,” Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition said in a statement. “Shame on ICE for putting New York’s immigrant communities – four million strong – in a state of panic. These arrests do nothing but tear families apart, hobble our economies, and corrode the bonds of trust that tie our communities together – all under the false pretense of “public safety.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio joined members of several Jewish groups across New York City in Battery Park Sunday to protest the immigration order.

“Never again means never again for everyone,” one woman said.

“When we see hatred and xenophobia spread, it endangers all of us,” de Blasio said.

Sen. Chuck Schumer also denounced the raids, calling on ICE to be more transparent about the arrests.

President Donald Trump is praising the actions by ICE officers for the recent “enforcement surge” that officials say is targeting immigrants who are in the country illegally and have criminal records.

Trump tweeted that “the crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”

Speaking on CNN’s “State Of The Union,” Sunday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended ICE’s operations.

“What — what people should focus on is what the president is trying to do, which is to keep a campaign promise on making sure that violent criminals who are here illegally are taken out of the country in order to make America’s streets safer,” Christie said.

“The federal government should be enforcing federal law. And they have to make clear that federal law will be enforced. If that’s the president’s desire, then he should go ahead and make sure that that’s done,” Christie added.

Advocacy groups contend the government has rounded large numbers of people as part of stepped-up enforcement. The agency calls the effort no different from enforcement actions carried out in the past.

Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the emphasis is on deporting those he calls “criminal aliens” and who “pose a threat to public safety.”

Miller says “we’re going to focus on public safety and saving American lives and we will not apologize.”

A spokesperson for Homeland Security said ICE does not conduct raids that target aliens indiscriminately.

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