A Mexican national arrested in Wyoming, who has a prior conviction for fourth-degree child abuse and two convictions for child neglect, is among the 33 foreign nationals taken into custody during a four-day operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this week in western Michigan, targeting at-large criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and other immigration violators.
While U.S. immigration law classifies the first illegal entry into the U.S. as a misdemeanor, subsequent re-entries are considered felonies.
Of the suspects nabbed by ICE agents during the Michigan operation, which was spearheaded by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) section, about 80 percent or 24 immigrants of those arrested possessed federal criminal conviction records.
Criminal convictions of those arrested included, but are not limited to driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), domestic battery, contempt of court, possession of open intoxicants, criminal sexual conduct, 4th degree child abuse , child neglect, destruction of property, domestic violence, larceny, providing false identity to federal law enforcement, and attempted identity theft, among the criminal offenses.
A few examples of those caught in the ICE dragnet include:
- A 37-year-old Liberian male with a conviction for the offense of criminal sexual conduct, 3rd Degree. He was ordered removed from the United States in 2011, and will remain in ICE custody pending removal of the United States.
- A 22-year-old Mexican female with convictions for operating without a license, two counts of child neglect, and child abuse, 4th degree. She will remain in ICE custody pending the outcome of her removal proceedings.
- A 20-year-old Salvadoran male with convictions for destruction of property, larceny, and false identity to law enforcement. He will remain in ICE custody pending the outcome of his removal proceedings.
The just concluded operation targeted threats to public safety, such as convicted criminal aliens and individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including individuals who re-entered the country after being removed, other immigration violators, and immigration fugitives ordered deported by federal immigration judges.
“Operations like this one demonstrate ICE’s continued focus on the arrest of dangerous criminal aliens as well as those who enter the United States illegally,” said Rebecca Adducci, field office director for ERO in Detroit. “I’m grateful to serve with the men and women of ICE who selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to protect the communities we live and work in.”
Some of the individuals arrested during this week’s enforcement action will be presented for federal prosecution for re-entry after deportation, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Those not being criminally prosecuted will be processed for removal from the country. Individuals who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country.
The arrestees (28 men and five women) included nationals from four countries, Mexico (22), Guatemala (7), El Salvador (3), and Liberia.
ICE deportation officers conduct targeted enforcement operations every day in locations around the country as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls.
During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.
ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy.
However, as the former ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan had made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.