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Enforcement and Removal
04/07/2008

2-week ICE DRO operation targeting fugitives yields more 330 arrests in Miami, Broward and Palm Beach counties

MIAMI - More than 330 immigration fugitives and immigration violators were arrested here following a two-week targeted enforcement action carried out by deportation officers assigned to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Miami Fugitive Operations Team.

During the two-week operation, which concluded Friday, ICE deportation officers located and arrested 332 immigration violators. The breakdown of the arrests by county are as follows: (147) in Miami-Dade, (104) in Broward and (81) in Palm Beach.

Of those arrested, 300 were immigration fugitives, aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation. The remaining 32, were immigration violators who are amenable to removal and who have been convicted of various crimes.

Sixty-eight of those arrested were processed for removal and placed on the Alternatives to Detention Program (ATD). In these cases, ICE DRO officers exercised prosecutorial discretion by placing aliens with final orders of removal, who were verified to be sole caregivers or as having medical concerns, on orders of supervision.

The ATD Program was originally created to ensure appearance at immigration hearings by aliens who were determined not to pose a threat to national security or community safety and who did not pose an unacceptable flight risk. This program has provided effective community based supervision to eligible aliens. The departure of those placed on the orders of supervision will be verified by deportation officers.

The results of the targeted enforcement action were announced at a news conference here today by Michael Rozos, ICE Florida Field Office Director for the Office of Detention and Removal.

"As a nation, we must protect the integrity of our immigration system," said Rozos. "While we are a welcoming country, we expect those wanting to immigrate here to do so in a safe, legal and orderly manner. If you choose to disregard our laws, you will be found, arrested and returned to your home country.”

Following are three of the criminal aliens arrested by ICE's Fugitive Operations Team during this targeted enforcement action:

  • Antonio Martinez-Romero, a citizen of Mexico, ordered deported in Oct. 2007. He has previous arrests for robbery, carrying a concealed weapon and domestic battery. Martinez-Romero's deportation is imminent.
  • Jean Robert Valeus, a citizen of Haiti, ordered deported in Oct. 2006. He has previous convictions and arrests linked to cocaine possession, larceny, and aggravated battery on a pregnant woman.
  • Ramiro Martinez, a citizen of Mexico, ordered deported in Oct. 1997. He has previous convictions and arrests for driving under the influence and cruelty towards a child.

The Fugitive Operations Program was established in 2003 to eliminate the nation's backlog of immigration fugitives and ensure that deportation orders handed down by immigration judges are enforced. Earlier this year, the nation's fugitive alien population showed its first-ever decline. Estimates now place the number of immigration fugitives in the United States at slightly under 597,000, a decrease of more than 35,000 since October 2006.

Much of the credit for those results can be attributed to the rapid expansion of the program. Today, ICE has 75 Fugitive Operations Teams deployed across the country, including 23 added within the last year. Due to the success of the fugitive operations effort, Congress authorized ICE to add 29 more Fugitive Operation Teams in fiscal year 2008.

Those arrested represent countries around the globe including Ukraine, Angola, Surinam, Mauritania, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Canada.

ICE's Fugitive Operations Program is an integral part of the comprehensive multi-year plan launched by the Department of Homeland Security to secure America's borders and reduce illegal migration. That strategy seeks to gain operational control of both the northern and southern borders, while re-engineering the detention and removal system to ensure that illegal aliens are removed from the country quickly and efficiently. The plan also involves strong interior enforcement efforts, including enhanced worksite enforcement and intensified efforts to track down and remove illegal aliens inside the United States.