Washington, DC - A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) flight to Southeast Asia has repatriated 123 nationals of the Philippines and Indonesia. A special charter mission contracted by ICE's Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Flight Operations Unit left Yuma, Ariz., on April 8th for Pampanga, Philippines and Jakarta, Indonesia. The group of 98 males and 25 females arrived today.
Forty-three of the individuals repatriated to their home countries have criminal convictions. These convictions include aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a firearm, burglary, sexual assault, sexual offences against a child, drug offenses and fraud.
The individuals were escorted by ICE DRO officers, Division of Immigration Health Services staff and consular officials from Indonesia and the Philippines. This repatriation effort is the first charter to the Philippines for fiscal year 2008 and is the first charter flight ever for Indonesia. ICE Attachè Singapore and the Department of State Regional Security Office in Jakarta coordinated with the Indonesian government to repatriate the deportees.
As an integral component of the ICE DRO aviation strategy, ICE employs special air charters in transporting aliens under removal orders to countries outside the western hemisphere. Staffed by ICE officers, these air charters repatriate large groups of removable aliens in an expeditious, safe and humane manner, thus reducing detention periods.
Coordinated with other DHS components, the State Department, foreign governments, and U.S. posts abroad, ICE operates 13 to15 special air charter missions every year and repatriates aliens to worldwide destinations such as Brazil, Eastern Europe, Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Cambodia and the Middle East.