MADISON, Wis. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Tuesday that its local teams of officers that track down fugitive aliens arrested 24 fugitive aliens and other immigration violators in the Madison area as part of a four-day, six-state operation that ended Monday.
"Fugitive aliens" are illegal aliens who fail to appear for their immigration hearings, or who abscond after having been ordered to leave the country by a federal immigration judge.
Eleven fugitive operations teams made 225 arrests in: Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Indiana and Missouri. Of the 24 arrested by ICE's Milwaukee Fugitive Operations Team, 13 were immigration fugitives with outstanding deportation orders, and 11 were immigration violators encountered during the course of the targeted operation.
The arrests took place in the following Wisconsin cities: Beloit, Janesville, Madison, Milwaukee, Monroe, and Waunakee. Those arrested are from the following countries: Cameroon, China, Ecuador, El Salvador, Gambia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, South Africa and Yugoslavia.
"Our teams working together across six states today sent a strong message to those who choose to disregard our nation's laws," said Julie L. Myers, Homeland Security Assistance Secretary for ICE. "If you ignore a judge's order of removal, ICE will find you, arrest you, and you will be returned to your home country."
ICE has established 75 Fugitive Operations Teams nationwide that are specially trained and dedicated solely to identifying, locating and arresting aliens who have absconded after receiving deportation orders. The increased FY 2008 budget allocates funds for the implementation of an additional 29 teams nationally.
Following are examples of fugitives arrested by the Fugitive Operations Teams during this Wisconsin operation:
- On Feb. 23, ICE officers arrested Rafael Casique-Corona, aka Victor Ramos-Rodriguez, a 34-year-old Mexican national, at his Beloit residence. Casique-Corona's criminal history includes numerous arrests for: domestic battery, disorderly conduct, criminal damage, resisting or obstructing an officer, and operating a vehicle without consent. He also has convictions for battery and criminal trespass related to domestic abuse. He was ordered deported in absentia by a federal immigration judge in November 1995.
- On Feb. 22, Jacques Coetzee, a 47-year-old South African national, was arrested by ICE in front of his Waunakee residence. Coetzee has two convictions for drunk driving. On his most recent conviction in October 2006, his driver's license was revoked for 18 months. ICE officers arrested Coetzee as he drove up to his house and he stated to ICE officers that he had been drinking before he drove home. He had been placed in removal proceedings in 2002 and was ordered deported in December 2006.
The Fugitive Operations Teams' success is also attributed to the fact ICE has expanded partnerships with local law enforcement agencies across the country and the newly created Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC) in Vermont, which aids in gathering and analyzing information on fugitive cases across the country. This center was opened last year and has since disseminated more than 150,000 case leads to ICE agents.
ICE established its Fugitive Operations Program in 2003 to eliminate the nation's backlog of immigration fugitives and ensure that deportation orders handed down by immigration judges are enforced. The teams prioritize cases involving immigration violators who pose a threat to national security and community safety. These include child sexual exploiters, suspected gang members and those who have convictions for any violent crimes.
Nationwide, ICE Fugitive Operations Teams have arrested more than 72,000 illegal aliens since the first teams were created. There are approximately 585,000 fugitive aliens in ICE's databases; but our targeted enforcement strategy is paying off. Last year, 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.
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 migration. 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.