ALEXANDRIA, La. – An El Salvadoran man illegally present in the United States was sentenced to six years in federal prison July 17. The man obstructed his deportation by refusing to complete paperwork required to obtain travel documents for a return trip to his home country. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is deporting him due to a felony sexual assault conviction in Arkansas.
According to court documents, Manuel Rivas, 45, twice refused to comply with an order to request travel documents for entry into El Salvador on July 3, 2012 and Aug. 16, 2012. He was convicted on two counts of resisting deportation April 5 following a two-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge Dee D. Drell in the Western District of Louisiana. Rivas was originally arrested by ICE on July 11, 2011, and he still faces removal from the United States upon completion of his prison term.
Overall, in fiscal year 2012, ICE removed 409,849 individuals. Of these, approximately 55 percent, or 225,390 of the people removed, were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors – almost double the removal of criminals in fiscal year 2008.
This includes 1,215 aliens convicted of homicide, 5,557 aliens convicted of sexual offenses, 40,448 aliens convicted for crimes involving drugs and 36,166 aliens convicted for driving under the influence. Ninety-six percent of all ICE removals fell into a priority category – a record high.