Local Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials dismiss a study critical of the agency's arrests of illegal aliens who are also criminals.
The New York Times and Benjamin Cardozo Law School study claims federal agents are using the goal of focusing on the arrest of illegal aliens with a criminal background to also bring in anyone without proper documentation.
The study says the raids are netting people without a violent past and the federal effort has been used to get more money from Congress.
Spokesman Tim Counts from the Bloomington Immigration and Customs Enforcement office dismissed the study as a joke.
Counts says the agency has never claimed the raids would focus only on illegal aliens with a criminal past.
"We have never stated that was the case. Now, have we stated that ICE's priority is criminal aliens? Absolutely, every chance we get, and it is our priority. But we have never said that we will concentrate only on criminal fugitive aliens at the expense of all other immigration violators," Counts said.
Counts said last year ICE arrested more than 1,000 fugitive aliens in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas who have ignored deportation orders.
He said 200 of them had criminal convictions.