Feds to Conduct Raids Targeting Undocumented Immigrants Who Entered US Recently

The raids are expected in upcoming weeks, a high-ranking government source said.

— -- Federal authorities plan to begin a series of targeted raids to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants, according to a government source who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The raids, expected to begin in upcoming weeks, will specifically target those who recently crossed the U.S. border. Included in this group are immigrants from Central America who came into the U.S. in 2014 to escape violent conditions in their home country.

ICE agents have been reminded of guidelines that prohibit raids or enforcement actions at schools, hospitals or courtrooms, the source said.

ICE spokesperson Jennifer Elzea said in a statement, "Current operations are a continuation of operations Secretary Johnson announced in January and March. We stress that these operations are limited to those who were apprehended at the border after January 1, 2014, have been ordered removed by an immigration court, and have no pending appeal or pending claim for asylum or other humanitarian relief under our laws."

She said that ICE's enforcement priorities, which DHS announced in November 2014, include the removal of convicted criminals and others who constitute threats to public safety and national security, as well as individuals apprehended for crossing the border illegally after Jan. 1, 2014.

"We stress also that in its enforcement operations, ICE will continue to adhere to existing guidance to avoid the apprehension of individuals at sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals and places of worship, except in emergency circumstances," she said.

It is unclear whether undocumented minors would be exempt from these raids. Laws have been put in place to protect undocumented minors, such as the Flores Settlement Agreement of 1997, which says children cannot be detained and are to be released to a guardian in the general population. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 says any unaccompanied minor or child entering from a non-contiguous country has to be allowed inside the United States and does not qualify for immediate removal.

In March, ICE announced an initiative called "Operation Border Guardian" in which it targeted undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. on or after Jan. 1, 2014 as minors. Between Jan. 23 and March 9, ICE had taken 336 individuals into custody, it said in the announcement at the time.

Pili Tobar, communications director for Latino Victory Project, called the new plans "outrageous."

"These families are seeking refuge and safety, and instead of being a beacon of light and an example for the world, we are terrorizing them," she said.

In January, ICE carried out a nationwide sweep of undocumented immigrants and families, which resulted in the deportation of 77 people. Those raids got national attention and criticism from pro-immigration groups.

The plan for the new raids was first reported by Reuters.

ABC News' Jim Avila and Geneva Sands contributed to this report.

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