PHILADELPHIA - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) office in Philadelphia arrested 44 foreign nationals, 21 with criminal convictions, during a five-day enforcement action throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware targeting convicted criminal aliens who have violated U.S. immigration law. The other 23 arrests were of individuals who had violated immigration law.
The operation was conducted from Jan. 24 through Jan. 28, 2011, by ERO officers from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, York, Pa., Pike, Pa., and Dover, Del.
"The Philadelphia Field Office makes a priority of identifying, locating and removing those who have committed crimes in our communities," said Thomas Decker, field office director for ICE ERO in Philadelphia. "Those who violate our immigration laws are also subject to removal pending an appearance before an immigration judge."
Of the 21 criminals arrested, their crimes included possession of child pornography, theft, assault, drug possession, driving under the influence and trespassing. Two had reentered the country after a previous deportation. Two who were arrested had pending criminal charges. Among those arrested were:
- A British-born lawful permanent resident who had been convicted in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania of possession of child exploitation images. As part of that conviction, he was ordered to register as a sex offender. He was arrested in Sellersville and is in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
- A Jamaican national arrested in Pittsburgh who was convicted in Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas for aggravated assault, in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas of carrying a firearm without a license and recklessly endangering another person, and in Lake County Court of Common Pleas of burglary. He is in custody pending removal proceedings.
- A Mexican national who was convicted in Chester County Court of Common Pleas for simple assault and sentenced to two years in jail. He was also convicted in New Castle County Family Court of offensive touching. He in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
- A Bangladeshi national who was convicted in Westmoreland County Common Court of Pleas in 2008 for corruption of minors was and sentenced to two years probation. He is in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
This month's special enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's Criminal Alien 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.
The officers who conducted this week's operation received substantial assistance from ICE's Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC) located in Williston, 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.
ICE's Criminal Alien Program 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.
Largely as a result of these initiatives, ICE removed a total of 136,126 criminal aliens from the United States last year, a record number.