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07/23/2010

ICE arrests 22 in Idaho immigration enforcement surge

All had been previously deported or had criminal convictions in the United States

BOISE, Idaho - Two previously deported felons were among the 22 immigration violators arrested by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during a three-day enforcement surge in Idaho's Magic Valley and the surrounding area.

During the operation, which began July 20, ICE arrested 15 immigration fugitives who had outstanding orders of deportation or had been previously deported and returned to the United States illegally. Six of the immigration fugitives had criminal histories ranging from drug possession, assault, theft, driving under the influence and domestic violence.

Two of the previously deported felons will be federally prosecuted in the District of Idaho on charges of illegal re-entry after deportation.  Francisco Garcia-Ramirez, 34, of Mexico has a prior conviction for possession of cocaine and has previously been deported four times. Jesus Jaimes-Flores, 32, of Mexico has criminal convictions for DUI and assault and was previously convicted on federal charges of illegal entry.  He has been previously deported once.

"ICE is committed to smart and effective immigration enforcement that targets individuals who pose a threat to public safety," said Steven M. Branch, field office director for ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Idaho. "ICE is committed to identifying those who come to the United States, commit crimes and blatantly disregard our nation's laws."

ICE officers made the arrests in nine Idaho communities including Burley, Buhl, Castleford, Hailey, Jerome, Rupert, Shoshone, Twin Falls, and Wendell. Those arrested are from Mexico (18), Nicaragua (1), Honduras (1), Peru (1) and Russia (1).

The arrests were made by ERO Fugitive Operations Teams (FOTs) based in Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City. The teams, two of 104 deployed nationwide, are responsible for locating, arresting, and removing criminal aliens and immigration fugitives who have ignored final orders of deportation handed down by the nation's immigration courts.

In fiscal year 2009, the FOTs made 35,904 arrests. More than 31,000 of those arrests, nearly 90 percent involved immigration fugitives and aliens with prior criminal convictions. Criminal aliens accounted for about 45 percent of the overall total, including more than 3,600 individuals with prior convictions for violent crimes such as murder and assault.