DENVER - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 59 fugitives and immigration violators throughout Colorado during a five-day initiative targeting immigration absconders which ended Tuesday.
"Fugitive aliens" are illegal aliens who fail to appear for their immigration hearings, or they abscond after being ordered to leave the country by a federal immigration judge.
During the five-day operation which began Sept. 12, the two local ICE Fugitive Operations Teams targeted immigration fugitives in the following 14 Colorado cities: Aurora, Aspen, Basalt, Canyon City, Carbondale, Colorado Springs, Cortez, Craig, Denver, Durango, El Jebel, Glenwood Springs, Pueblo and Thornton.
Of those arrested, 30 were fugitives targeted by ICE since they already had final orders of deportation; 29 were immigration violators encountered by ICE officers during their targeted arrests. Twenty of those arrested had criminal convictions, including sexual assault of a child, car theft, and resisting arrest. Following are four examples of the criminals ICE arrested during this operation:
- Christian Daniel Sabido Yberri, from Mexico, was arrested by ICE agents Sept. 12 in Cortez, Colo. He has an outstanding order of deportation. He has an extensive criminal history showing multiple arrests and convictions both as a juvenile and as an adult. He is currently in ICE custody pending his deportation.
- Fernando Rios Miramontes, from Mexico, was arrested by ICE agents Sept. 15 in Denver. He overstayed his visitor visa and has a nationwide warrant for his arrest for sexually assaulting a child by a person in a position of trust. He was on the Garfield County Colorado Sheriff's Office's Most Wanted list. After ICE fingerprinted him, he was turned over to the Denver Police Department on the outstanding warrant. ICE agents also placed a detainer on him.
- Ivan Eduardo Rodriguez Hernandez, from Mexico, was arrested by ICE agents with his brother Sept. 16 in Denver after he was referred by the Denver County District Attorney's Office. He was convicted of sexual assault June 2. He was sentenced to 10 years probation, and required to register as a sex offender. He has previous arrests for vehicle theft, disorderly conduct, and traffic violations. He is in ICE custody and being held without bond as he awaits his immigration hearing.
- Jose Rodriguez Hernandez, from Mexico, was arrested by ICE agents Sept. 16 in Denver. He was apprehended with his brother Ivan Eduardo Rodriguez Hernandez. He was convicted Jan. 31, 2007 for aggravated motor vehicle theft and sentenced to 45 days in jail and one year probation. He is in ICE custody and being held without bond as he awaits his immigration hearing.
"Our ICE Fugitive Operations Teams remove criminal aliens from the streets, and they also help maintain the integrity of the immigration system," said John Longshore, field office director for the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Denver. "ICE uses all the tools and resources at our disposal to locate fugitives who show a blatant disregard for our nation's immigration laws."
During the first 11 months of fiscal year 2008, which began Oct. 1, the local ICE Fugitive Operations Teams in the area covered by the Denver ICE office have made 489 arrests. Of the total, 405 were fugitive aliens who had failed to comply with their outstanding deportation orders; 84 were immigration violators encountered by the ICE Fugitive Operations Teams during their targeted arrests. Denver's Office of Detention and Removal oversees the states of Colorado and Wyoming.
ICE established its National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP) 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 95 Fugitive Operations Teams deployed across the country. Another Colorado Fugitive Operations Team is scheduled to open in Colorado Springs by the end of the year.
So far this year, ICE's NFOP has made more than 30,000 arrests nationwide, which included more than 23,000 fugitives. Additionally, in 2007 and for the first time in history, the nation's fugitive alien population declined and continues to do so, in large part because of the work of the NFOP. Estimates now place the number of immigration fugitives in the United States at about 570,000, a decrease of nearly 25,000 since October 2007.
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.