NEW YORK - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today its four New York Fugitive Operations Teams arrested a total of 120 fugitive aliens during a nearly two-week long operation that concluded Friday.
Of the 120 fugitives arrested, 35 had criminal records. During the operation, an additional 10 immigration violators were arrested, six of whom had criminal histories.
Criminal histories of the aliens arrested by the Fugitive Operations Teams during this operation included convictions for: drugs, assault, bank fraud, bribery, burglary, robbery and prostitution. Drug convictions included various drug offenses such as criminal importation, distribution, sale and possession of a variety of controlled substances such as heroine, cocaine and marijuana. Other convictions included criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, DWI, forgery, harassment, illegal entry, possession of a forged instrument, possession of stolen property, and theft.
"The removal of fugitive aliens, especially those with a criminal history, is a top ICE priority," said Bartolome Rodriguez, acting field office director for the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) in New York. ICE's Fugitive Operations Teams prioritize cases involving immigration violators who pose a threat to national security and community safety. Foreign nationals who violate our laws and commit crimes in our communities should be on notice that ICE is going to use all of its resources to find you and send you home."
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 DRO Officer after receiving notice to do so. Those fugitives have already been ordered removed and are subject to immediate removal from the United States. Individuals who have illegally re-entered the U.S. after deportation are subject to criminal prosecution and immediate removal from the U.S.
The non-fugitive immigration violators arrested during this operation have been charged with immigration violations, placed in removal proceedings and are awaiting a hearing before an Immigration Judge.
The following are examples of fugitive aliens arrested by the New York Fugitive Operations Teams during this operation:
- An Italian national arrested in Port Chester, New York, who had been previously convicted of distribution of cocaine;
- A Jordanian national arrested in the Bronx, New York, who had prior convictions for sexual misconduct and disorderly conduct;
- A Colombian national arrested in Brooklyn, New York, who had been previously convicted of bribery of an officer of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service;
- A Colombian national arrested in Mount Kisco, New York, who had been previously convicted of importation of heroin into the United States; and
- A Barbadian national arrested in Manhattan, who had prior convictions for criminal possession of a controlled substance and attempted robbery. This individual was the 600th criminal alien fugitive arrested by the New York Fugitive Operations Teams during the current fiscal year.
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 the 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.