PHILADELPHIA - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Monday that its local fugitive operations teams arrested a total of 119 fugitive aliens during the 10-day operation in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Of the 75 fugitives arrested, 26 had criminal records. During the operation an additional 44 immigration violators were arrested, 12 of whom had criminal histories.
An immigration fugitive is an alien who has failed to depart the United States pursuant to a final order of removal, deportation or exclusion; or who has failed to report to a Detention and Removal Officer after receiving notice to do so. . 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 subject to criminal prosecution and 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.
"ICE is committed to protecting the integrity of our immigration system and that means ensuring that the removal orders handed down by the nation's immigration courts are carried out," said Thomas Decker, field officer director for ICE detention and removal operations in Philadelphia. "The United States welcomes law-abiding immigrants, but foreign nationals who violate our laws and commit crimes in our communities should be on notice that ICE is going to use all of the tools at its disposal to find you and send you home."
ICE Detention and Removal Operations and Office of Investigations worked in conjunction with the U.S. Border Patrol in Erie, PA, Philadelphia Police Department, Philadelphia Warrant Squad, Hatfield Police Department, Horsham Police Department, Norristown Police Department and Altoona Police Department during this targeted enforcement operation.
"In today's society it is important for all law enforcement agencies to work together," said Robert H. Ruxton, Chief of Police for Horsham Township, Pennsylvania. "The ability to share information and work together makes our nation a safer place."
Following are examples of fugitive aliens arrested by the Philadelphia Fugitive Operations Teams during this operation:
A Salvadoran male who was arrested in Milford, Delaware and had been charged with Offensive Touching, Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child. He was convicted of Conspiracy 2nd Degree.
A Mexican male was arrested in Coatesville, Pennsylvania for Narcotics Violations. He was convicted of a violation of the Controlled Substance and Cosmetic Act.
A Mauritanian national, convicted in London, Ohio for Failure to pay Child Support and convicted in Weehawken, NJ for Trademark Counterfeiting.
An Indonesian female who was arrested by the Philadelphia Police Department and charged with six felony counts of Forgery; Criminal Conspiracy; Theft by Unlawful Taking; Theft by Deception; Receiving Stolen Property; Access Device Used to Obtain Property. She was wanted by the Philadelphia Warrant Squad for failure to appear, and was turned over to them on their outstanding warrant.
The National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP) was established in 2003 to eliminate the nation's backlog of immigration fugitives. Today, ICE has 95 teams deployed across the country and 9 additional teams will be added by the end of September. So far this year ICE's NFOP has made nearly 28,000 arrests, with over 21,000 being ICE fugitives. Last year, the fugitive operations teams nearly doubled the number of arrests made in 2006 (15,000) to more than 30,000 in 2007. Additionally, in 2007, the nation's fugitive alien population declined for the first time in history and continues to do so 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 570,000, a decrease of nearly 25,000 since October 2007.