CHICAGO — As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) ongoing commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, 51 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and immigration violators were arrested last week during a four-day operation in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.
This operation concluded Sunday and was conducted by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Chicago.
Of the 51 arrested, 44 had prior convictions for crimes such as: child molesting, aggravated battery, drunken driving, criminal sexual abuse, fraud and drug possession. Eighteen of the 51 were immigration fugitives who had been previously ordered to leave the country, but failed to depart; some of these also had prior criminal convictions, in addition to an outstanding deportation order. Nine of those arrested had been previously deported, but illegally re-entered the United States, which is a felony.
Of the 46 men and five women arrested, 41 are Mexican nationals; one national from each of the following countries was also arrested: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, Jordan, Korea, Pakistan and Poland.
Arrests were made in Chicago and the following 25 northern Illinois communities: Addison, Algonquin, Bellwood, Berwyn, Blue Island, Cicero, Crest Hill, Elgin, Elmwood Park, Evanston, Franklin Park, Hanover Park, Joliet, Justice, Lansing, Maywood, Melrose Park, North Lake, Oak Brook, Palatine, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Park, Streamwood, Wauconda and Westmont. Arrests were also made in the northern Indiana communities of East Chicago, Hammond, Highland, Munster and Valparaiso.
Following are summaries of two individuals arrested during this operation:
- A 39-year-old Syrian national has eight aggravated felony convictions for residential burglary, retail theft, theft, burglary and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested Jan. 23 in Melrose Park, Ill., and remains in ICE custody pending a hearing before a federal immigration judge.
- A 25-year-old Mexican national is a registered sex offender with prior criminal convictions for sexually exploiting a child, public indecency and lewd exposure. He was arrested Jan. 27 in Elgin, Ill., and remains in ICE custody pending removal from the United States.
"Our focus on criminals has an immediate positive impact by significantly improving the safety and security of our communities," said Ricardo Wong, field office director for ERO Chicago. "By arresting and removing criminals and egregious immigration violators, we ensure the best use of agency resources and a continued focus on public safety."
This enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives.
ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security. ICE also prioritizes the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system, including immigration fugitives or criminal aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.