Of the 161 people arrested in L.A. and surrounding counties last week, 151 had been convicted of a crime.
President Trump insisted the raids have specifically targeted criminals, saying in a Sunday tweet that the "crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise".
The raids were part of Operation Cross Check a code name for sweeps that have resulted in tens of thousands of arrests across the United States since 2011.
In a statement, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the operations targeted undocumented immigrants with criminal records, as well as people re-entered the country illegally or who had been ordered deported by a judge. He called the operations "routine" and consistent with the kind of targeted enforcement operations the agency has conducted for years.
She said the operation was conducted "to apprehend deportable foreign nationals".
A report released Thursday showed almost one in five immigrants in the us illegally live in either the Los Angeles or New York City metropolitan areas.
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Last week's raids were the first major immigration enforcement action under Trump's January 25 executive order to crack down on the country's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. And several Charlotte businesses that serve immigrant customers say they're closing early because their staff and customers fear raids or check-points.
Of the 51 people arrested, ICE said 23 had criminal convictions.
The US Homeland Security chief on Monday said that immigration officials have arrested more than 680 people in recent operations, 75 per cent of whom have criminal records. Level two included removable migrants who have been convicted of three or more "significant misdemeanors" to include, domestic violence or driving under the influence. 27 more had returned to the USA after previously being deported and 17 were issued final orders of removal by a federal immigration judge. Most were wanted for violent crimes or had warrants out for their arrest.
In an email, the agency said reports of ICE checkpoints and sweeps that target undocumented immigrants indiscriminately are false. In one case, the ICE agency charged one immigrant as a "gang member" because of old speeding tickets and tattoos.
Trump went on to say that he had promised "to get the bad ones. and that's exactly what we're doing". "People are concerned that their families will be broken up", said Atlanta immigration attorney Sarah Owings, who also serves as Chair of the Georgia and Alabama branch of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.