The Obama administration confirmed Monday that it began a new wave of arrests of Central American immigrant families over the weekend, moving forward with deportations of mothers and children despite an outcry from immigrant rights groups and potential political fallout for Democrats.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement that 121 people were taken into custody in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina in recent days and will soon face deportation.

“This past weekend, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) engaged in concerted, nationwide enforcement operations to take into custody and return at a greater rate adults who entered this country illegally with children,” Johnson said. “This should come as no surprise. I have said publicly for months that individuals who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged “some discussions” between the White House and DHS over policy matters related to the raids, but did not get into specifics. He said President Barack Obama supports deportation of those who recently entered the U.S. illegally.

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