U.S. Border Patrol agents have arrested more than 150 suspected illegal immigrants during a major sweep in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in California that has caused panic in some heavily Latino neighborhoods. The sweeps, which began Friday, came after a change in policy at the Border Patrol and will continue indefinitely, agency officials said.
Similar “interior checkpoints” and related activities have occurred in parts of Texas and elsewhere in the Southwest, said Mario Villarreal, a spokesman with the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection in Washington. In August, Border Patrol officials rescinded a 4-year-old policy prohibiting agents from pursuing or arresting suspected illegal immigrants except near the border and at highway checkpoints. Federal agents said they were relying on intelligence to identify places with suspected illegal immigrants, stopping people as they stepped off buses and walked along the streets.