By: Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor
A national operation led to 366 criminal illegal foreign nationals being arrested and targeted for removal by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) agents. The operation targeted criminals who were determined “to be a threat to national security, public safety or border security.”
The operation took place from August 4 to August 25 during which agents prioritized finding and arresting fugitive criminal aliens, including those who’d been previously removed from the U.S. and illegally reentered. Arrests occurred nationwide.
Those arrested also had criminal convictions for certain felonies or other crimes including “murder for hire, manslaughter, sex crimes against children, assault with a firearm, battery, domestic violence, drug trafficking, possession of a controlled substance and driving under the influence,” ICE said in a statement.
“Our ERO officers continue to prioritize the apprehension and removal of noncitizens who pose a threat to national security, public safety or border security from the United States – obtaining and reviewing entire criminal and administrative records and any other investigative information available to take decisive law enforcement actions,” Acting ERO Executive Associate Director Corey Price said. “This operation highlights ongoing efforts by our officers to apply an organized, methodical approach to the identification, location and arrest of those who present a danger to communities we serve.”
Among the 366 arrested, 38 were arrested by ICE ERO-Los Angeles agents. Among them was a 54-year-old Mexican national who’d been convicted of felony lewd act with a child under 14 years of age and felony failure to register as a sex offender in July 2023.
Another was a 44-year-old Mexican national convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, driving under the influence, cruelty toward a child, and hit and run with property damage. Another was a 68-year-old El Salvadoran national convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.
Another 38 criminal aliens were arrested by ICE ERO-New York City agents. They include a 55-year-old Guyana national living in Hollis, New York, convicted of a felony using interstate commerce facilities to commit murder-for-hire in December 2008.
Another was a 43-year-old Honduran national convicted of felony malicious wounding by mob as well as participation in a criminal street gang (MS-13). The Honduran had already been twice removed from the U.S. and illegally reentered.
Another was a 51-year-old El Salvadoran convicted of “sexual abuse-2nd degree: sexual contact with a person under age 14, and of felony operation of a motor vehicle 0.08 of 1% or more of alcohol with a prior conviction of a designated offense within 10 years.” The El Salvadoran had been previously removed from the U.S. three times and illegally reentered.
Another top arrest occurred in Jacksonville, Florida, where a 52-year-old Albanian was arrested after having been convicted of felony aggravated assault with a firearm and felony possession of dangerous drugs in September 2009.
In Clinton, Maryland, a 48-year-old El Salvadoran national was arrested after having been convicted of felony aggravated sexual battery victim under 13 years old in December 1994.
In Chicago, a 45-year-old Mexican national was arrested after having been convicted of felony predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, felony aggravated kidnapping and felony child abduction in March 2022.
In Meriden, Connecticut, a 37-year-old Ecuadoran national was arrested after having been convicted of felony manslaughter second-degree in January 2019.
In Washington, D.C., a 36-year-old El Salvadoran national was arrested after having been convicted of felony second-degree child sex abuse in March 2023.
These arrests are in addition to ICE ERO agents arresting an MS-13 gang member on El Salvador’s Top 100 list and a Brazilian military officer wanted for 2015 massacre who were illegally living in Alabama and New Hampshire, respectively.
The arrests are also in addition to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations agents arresting a record number of illegal foreign nationals with criminal convictions this fiscal year.
In fiscal year 2022, ICE ERO agents arrested 46,396 illegal foreign nationals with criminal histories including 198,498 associated charges and convictions. The charges and convictions include 21,531 assault offenses; 8,164 sex and sexual assault offenses; 5,554 weapons offenses; 1,501 homicide-related offenses; and 1,114 kidnapping offenses.
In fiscal year 2022, ICE ERO agents also conducted 72,177 removals to over 150 countries.