ALEXANDRIA, La. — An Albanian man illegally present in the United States was sentenced to four years in federal prison Tuesday for hampering his removal from the country. He refused to comply with instructions from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to board removal flights to his country of origin.
According to court documents, Bledar Bujilici, 34, twice refused to comply with an order of removal issued by an immigration judge. He was convicted of hampering his removal July 26 following a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell in the Western District of Louisiana.
Bujilici still faces removal from the United States upon the completion of his prison term. ICE will remove Bujilici based upon a 2009 felony aggravated assault conviction in Waterbury, Conn.
"ICE will continue to dedicate resources to prosecuting individuals who hamper their removal," said Trey Lund, field office director for ERO New Orleans. "This case illustrates our close cooperation with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the successful prosecution of egregious immigration law violators who pose a threat to public safety and border security."
ICE removed 409,849 individuals in fiscal year 2012. Of this number, approximately 55 percent – or 225,390 people – were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors.
ICE removed 1,215 aliens convicted of homicide, 5,557 aliens convicted of sexual offenses, 40,448 aliens convicted of crimes involving drugs and 36,166 aliens convicted of driving under the influence.
ICE continues to make progress with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. Some 96 percent of all ICE removals fell into a priority category – a record high.