PROVIDENCE, RI - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 42 immigration fugitives and immigration violators during a law enforcement operation carried out by deportation officers assigned to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Rhode Island Fugitive Operations Team.
This enforcement effort focused on fugitives in the Newport, RI and Middletown, RI areas over the past 2 days.
"ICE is committed to restoring integrity to our nation's immigration system, and one way to do that is to ensure removal orders are carried out," said Bruce E. Chadbourne, Field Office Director for ICE's Office of Detention and Removal in Boston. "The United States welcomes law abiding immigrants, but foreign nationals who violate our laws and who commit crimes against those in our communities will not be allowed to stay. Rest assured ICE will use all available resources to remove from the country, those not legally allowed to be here."
Of those arrested, 21 are immigration fugitives. ICE officers also arrested 12 individuals who illegally re-entered the U.S. after having been previously removed and 9 other illegal aliens.
An immigration fugitive is someone who has ignored a final order of deportation. Those fugitives have already been ordered deported and are subject to immediate removal from the United States. The individuals who have illegally re-entered the U.S. after deportation are also subject to immediate removal from the U.S. The other immigration violators arrested during this operation who have not already been ordered removed, have been charged with immigration violations and placed into removal proceedings. They await hearings before an Immigration Judge.
During the month of May alone, ICE Fugitive Operations Teams arrested over 3,400 fugitives and immigration violators across the country. Of that number, 164 were arrested by fugitive operations teams throughout New England.
The Rhode Island Fugitive Operations Team was put in place just one year ago in June 2007. The Rhode Island team is one of four teams assigned to the Boston Field Office and has contributed to the arrests of more than 1,283 fugitives and immigration violators so far this fiscal year in New England. Of that number, 992 were fugitives and 130 were illegal criminal aliens.
The Fugitive Operations Program was established in 2003 to eliminate the nation's backlog of immigration fugitives. Today, ICE has 84 teams deployed across the country and an additional 20 teams will be added by the end of September. Last year, the fugitive operations teams nearly doubled the number of arrests from 2006 â€“ from 15,000 to more than 30,000. Additionally, in 2007, the nation's fugitive alien population declined for the first time in history and continues to do so â€“ in large part due to the work of the fugitive operations teams and our Fugitive Operations Support Center, which helps to clear outstanding cases. Estimates now place the number of immigration fugitives in the United States at approximately 572,000, a decrease of nearly 23,000 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 immigration. 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.
Those arrested in this enforcement operation represent the following countries: Brazil, Guatemala and Mexico.
They will be detained at various state and county facilities where ICE has contracts for ICE detention.
ICE was assisted in this enforcement operation by the Rhode Island State Police, the Middletown, RI Police Department, the United States Marshals Service, the Bristol County (MA) Sheriff's Office, and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.