Operation Threats Against the Community commenced Nov. 18. All 53 taken into custody had prior criminal convictions, including 22 aliens who had multiple criminal convictions. Additionally, 24 of those arrested had felony convictions. Many of the criminal aliens taken into custody had prior convictions for serious or violent crimes, such as assault and battery of a child, sexual assault, possessing and selling dangerous drugs and drunken driving.
"The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE's ongoing commitment to public safety," said Vincent Archibeque, deputy field office director of ICE ERO for New England. "Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers — along with our state and local law enforcement partners — there are 53 fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods in Massachusetts."
The arrests took place in the following Massachusetts locations: Attleboro, Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Dorchester, Everett, Fall River, Framingham, Lowell, Lynn, Milford, New Bedford, Peabody, Roxbury, Waltham and Worcester. The Boston, Brockton, Lynn, Fall River, Milford, Worcester police departments; Bristol, Essex, Plymouth County sheriffs' offices; and ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assisted more than 70 ERO officers with these arrests.
Of those arrested, there were 42 men and 11 women who are nationals of the following countries: one from Albania, one from Algeria, one from Angola, two from Brazil, one from Canada, eight from Cape Verde, one from Colombia, 11 from the Dominican Republic, one from Ghana, one from Guatemala, four from Haiti, one from Ireland, one from Italy, three from Jamaica, two from Mexico, one from Peru, one from the Philippines, eight from Portugal, three from Trinidad and one from Vietnam. They range in ages from 25 to 61.
All 53 were arrested administratively for being in violation of immigration law, and all are being held in ICE custody pending immigration removal proceedings.
Some of those arrested during this operation include:
- A national of Portugal who was convicted on two charges of indecent assault and battery of a child.
- A national of Portugal who was convicted of the following crimes: assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; assault and battery; threatening; violating the abuse prevention act; and three separate restraining order violations.
- A national of Cape Verde who was convicted of the following crimes: assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; assault and battery; breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony; disturbing the peace; possession of burglarious tools; and knowingly receiving stolen property.
- A national of Cape Verde who was convicted of the following crimes: assault and battery on a child with injury; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; and three separate convictions for assault and battery. This individual has 35 adult arraignments in Massachusetts.
- A national of the Dominican Republic who was convicted of the following crimes: two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and two separate convictions for the distribution of cocaine.
- A national of Portugal who was convicted of the following crimes: aggravated assault and battery; intimidation of a witness; violation of a court order; breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony; and threatening to commit a crime.
- A national of Jamaica who was convicted of possession with the intent to distribute 11 pounds of a controlled substance.
"This operation is one of the many tools that ICE uses to effectively reduce crime at the street level in communities throughout New England," added Archibeque.
In September, ERO in Boston conducted a similar "Cross Check" enforcement operation that yielded 111 arrests of convicted criminal aliens throughout New England.
This enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's Criminal Alien Program, which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens. The officers who conducted the operation received substantial assistance from ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) located in Williston, Vt.
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 those criminal aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.
Largely as a result of these initiatives, for three years in a row, ICE has removed more aliens than were removed in fiscal year 2008. Overall, in FY 2011 ICE ERO removed 396,906 individuals nationwide — the largest number in the agency's history. Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed, were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors — an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence. ICE achieved similar results with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. Ninety percent of all ICE's removals fell into a priority category and more than two-thirds of the other removals in 2011 were either recent border crossers or repeat immigration violators.