COLUMBUS, Ohio - Officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 137 criminal aliens and fugitives in central and southern Ohio over a four-day period ending late Monday.
The operation targeted foreign-born criminals and fugitives in violation of immigration laws. The arrests were made in the Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati metro areas.
Removing criminal aliens is a top ICE priority," said Rebecca Adducci, field office director for the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) for Michigan and Ohio. "ICE's Operation Cross Check targets cases involving immigration violators who pose a threat to national security and community safety. Foreign nationals who violate our laws and commit crimes in our communities will be found and removed."
ICE was assisted in the operation by the officers from the following agencies: Columbus Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff, Butler County Sheriff, Morrow County Sheriff, Hamilton Police Department, Mount Vernon Police Department, Beavercreek Police Department and Union Township Police Department.
All 137 arrested were either fugitives, re-entered after having been previously removed, or have been convicted of other crimes in the United States. Because of their serious criminal histories and prior immigration arrest records, at least 25 of those arrested during the enforcement surge face federal prosecution. A conviction for felony reentry carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Criminal histories included fraud, assault, larceny and domestic violence among other crimes.
Any of the foreign nationals arrested during this operation who have active warrants will be referred to the associated local law enforcement agency and ICE will place detainers to ensure they return to ICE custody following disposition of their criminal cases. Those 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 remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.
This week's special enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for locating, arresting, and removing at large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives - aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation handed down by the nation's immigration courts. ICE's Fugitive Operations Teams give top priority to cases involving aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including members of transnational street gangs and child sex offenders. This week's operation focused on the apprehension of criminal aliens, which are not necessarily fugitives.
The officers who conducted this week's special operation received substantial assistance from ICE's Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC) located in South Burlington, Vt. The FOSC conducted exhaustive database checks on the targeted cases to help ensure the viability of the leads and accuracy of the criminal histories. The FOSC was established in 2006 to improve the integrity of the data available on at large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives nationwide. Since its inception, the FOSC has forwarded more than 550,000 case leads to ICE enforcement personnel in the field.
This week's enforcement operation is just one facet of the Department of Homeland Security's broader strategy to heighten the federal government's effectiveness at identifying and removing dangerous criminal aliens from the United States. As a result of this strategy, ICE removed a total of 136,126 criminal aliens from the United States last year, a record number.