PHILADELPHIA - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that its fugitive operations teams based in Philadelphia detention and removal office arrested 37 fugitives, which included 14 with criminal records, during a targeted operation which started on October 14th and ended on October 26th. During the operation an additional 62 immigration violators were arrested, 27 with criminal histories. All of the arrests occurred in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
"This was a concerted effort by our offices and local law enforcement officials to target, arrest and remove the most dangerous illegal aliens who entered our country and act with blatant disregard for our laws," said Thomas Decker, field office director for ICE Office of Detention and Removal in Philadelphia. "We are a law enforcement agency charged with protecting our community from criminal aliens and the integrity of the nation's legal immigration system."
All together, fugitive operations teams based in Philadelphia, New York City, and Newark, NJ arrested a total of 384 illegal aliens during the 13-day-long operation that commenced on October 14. In New Jersey, of the 145 fugitives arrested, 65 with criminal records. During that operation, an additional 44 immigration violators were arrested, 22 of whom had criminal histories. In New York City, ICE officers apprehended 90 fugitives were arrested, including 46 with criminal histories. Six other immigration violators were arrested, all with criminal histories.
An immigration fugitive is an alien who has failed to depart the United States after receiving a final order of removal from an independent immigration judge, or who has failed to report to a Detention and Removal Officer after receiving notice to do so. People who have illegally re-entered the U.S. after deportation are subject to criminal prosecution or immediate removal from the U.S. The non-fugitive immigration violators arrested during this operation have been charged with immigration violations, placed in removal proceedings and will appear before an independent immigration judge from the Department of Justice.
Their crimes include: Homicide, Robbery, Aggravated Assault with a Weapon, Parole Violations, Possession with Intent to Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance, Knowingly Possessing a Controlled Substance, and DUI. Following are examples of fugitive aliens arrested by the Philadelphia Fugitive Operations Teams during this operation:
- A Mexican citizen was arrested in Dover, Del. He was convicted of Murder in the First Degree in Maryland in 2006. This case was presented to the US Attorney's Office, District of Delaware, for the alleged offense of 8 USC 1325, illegal entry.
- A Dominican fugitive and former Legal Permanent Resident was arrested in Philadelphia. He was previously deported on September 15, 2004 due to his criminal convictions and he illegally re-entered the United States again. He has convictions for Importation of Heroin and False Statements on a US passport application. He was arrested at his place of employment and the case was accepted by the US Attorney, Eastern District of Pennsylvania for violation of Title 8 USC 1326 Re-Entry after Deportation.
- A Nigerian fugitive was arrested in Philadelphia. He had convictions for Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault and Retail Theft as well as Driving with a suspended license, Disorderly Conduct.
- A Dominican fugitive was arrested in Philadelphia. He has arrests for Driving under the Influence, Possession with Intent to Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance, and Knowingly Possessing a Controlled Substance.
- A woman from the Cayman Islands was arrested in Hellertown Pa. She has multiple convictions for Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence, Robbery, Aggravated Assault with a Weapon, Parole Violation, and Criminal Attempt at Fraud. She will be detained pending a hearing before the immigration judge.
- A Belarus fugitive was arrested in Philadelphia. He had 3 arrests for Driving Under the Influence as well as an arrest for Retail Theft.
ICE Detention and Removal Operations, received support from ICE Office of Investigations.
During the federal government's fiscal year 2008, which ended Sept. 30, Fugitive Operations Teams arrested 1,157 illegal aliens in the three-state area covered by the Philadelphia ICE office. Of this total, 849 were fugitive aliens and 257 had criminal convictions in addition to their administrative immigration violations.
ICE established its Fugitive Operations Program in 2003 to eliminate the nation's backlog of immigration fugitives and ensure that deportation orders handed down by immigration judges are enforced. Today ICE has more than 100 Fugitive Operations Teams deployed nationwide to pursue these absconders. In fiscal year 2008, those teams accounted for more than 34,000 arrests, which is more than double the total from just two years ago. As a result of these efforts, the nation's fugitive alien population continues to decline. Estimates now place the number of fugitive alien cases at slightly under 560,000, a decrease of nearly 37,000 within the last year. This is a historic reversal of the previous growth trend in fugitive cases.
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.