2016 Year in Review
Throughout the year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) protects America from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that threaten national security and public safety. Our mission is accomplished by the people of ICE working together and by adhering to our values of integrity, courage and excellence. The following Year in Review is a snapshot of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Management and Administration’s (M&A) daily work. As we move confidently into 2017, ICE will continue to strive for excellence in all our efforts.
Here is a look at the top ERO, HSI and M&A stories, as determined by overall views by visitors to ICE.gov during the year.
Note: Project Red is no longer an operation that ERO conducts.
ICE, US Marshals arrest 45 international fugitives with Interpol notices
The Project Red II operation targeted individuals with Interpol red notices, requests to locate and provisionally arrest individuals pending extradition, and others wanted for serious crimes within Interpol member countries. ERO works with the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office of International Operations to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the United States. ICE ERO Executive Associate Director Tom Homan said that “identifying and arresting foreign fugitives is a global law enforcement priority and commands the full commitment of ICE resources.” He also said, “It is our duty to the American people and our partner countries to ensure that these individuals are removed from the shadows of our communities and returned to their home countries to face justice for their criminal acts.”
21 charged with fraudulently enabling hundreds of foreign nationals to remain in US through fake “pay-to-stay” New Jersey college
In April, HSI arrested 21 brokers, recruiters and employers from across the United States were arrested in April for conspiring with more than 1,000 foreign nationals to fraudulently maintain student and foreign worker visas through a “pay-to-stay” New Jersey college. The arrests resulted from an extensive probe led by HSI.
ICE removes Rwandan wanted for genocide
ICE ERO removed a Rwandan national accused of genocide from the United States. He was escorted by ERO New Orleans deportation officers who turned him over to Rwandan authorities in Kigali, Rwanda. ERO New Orleans Field Office Director David D. Rivera said; “The United States continues to welcome refugees and those that flee oppression, but we will not be a safe haven for alleged human rights violators.”
Ex-CBP supervisor sentenced to 7½ years in federal prison for alien smuggling
In September, a former CBP supervisory officer was sentenced to 7 ½ years in federal prison for alien smuggling and accepting a bribe. HSI special agents investigated the case.
More than 100 arrested in Los Angeles-area ICE operation targeting convicted criminal aliens
ICE ERO is serious about targeting convicted criminal aliens for arrest and removal from the United States. An operation in the Los Angeles area resulted in 112 arrests; the majority of the individuals arrested had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses. The offenses included child sex crimes, weapons charges and assault. David Marin, deputy field office director for ERO Los Angeles said, “By taking these individuals off our streets and ultimately removing them from the country, we’re making our communities safer for everyone.”
ICE arrests more than 1,100 in operation targeting gangs
In March, a five-week, HSI-led operation, dubbed netted 1,133 arrests, including more than 900 transnational criminal gang members and others associated with transnational criminal activity, like drug trafficking, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.
ICE Women's History Month spotlight
Not a day goes by that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Katrina Berger doesn't take a moment to sit back in awe of where life has taken her. "I never in my wildest dreams thought that I'd be working the job that I am, loving the job that I have and loving the work that I do as a special agent in charge," Berger said, "I came from humble roots, but I was raised well. It keeps me grounded which has helped me as I have advanced." Read other interesting profiles in this tribute to Women’s History Month.
ICE investigation results in 17 sex trafficking indictments in Minnesota
In October, a federal indictment unsealed charged 17 members of an international sex trafficking organization with transporting hundreds of female sex slaves from Thailand and trafficking them throughout the United States. This indictment resulted from an investigation led HSI, with assistance from the following agencies: Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, St. Paul (Minnesota) Police Department, Cook County (Illinois) Sheriff’s Office, Anoka County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Office.
ICE arrests 331 in Midwest during monthlong enforcement action
ICE ERO ran a monthlong removal operation focused on the Midwestern U.S. that resulted in the arrest of 331 criminal alien individuals. Individuals arrested had been convicted of robbery, weapons offenses, aggravated sexual abuse, domestic violence, burglary, DUI, drug fraud, sex offense against a child, battery and assault and rioting, to name a few. Field Office Director ERO Chicago Ricardo Wong said, “Our dedicated officers strive to make our communities safer by focusing our resources on the most egregious offenders; we ensure the very best use of our resources while immediately improving public safety.”
HSI Chicago seizes nearly 60 tons of honey illegally imported from China
In March, HSI Chicago special agents seized nearly 60 tons of illegally imported Chinese honey that was destined for U.S. consumers. The smuggled honey was contained in 195 55-gallon drums that were falsely declared as originating from Vietnam to evade anti-dumping duties applicable to Chinese-origin honey.
ICE arrests 58 in New York enforcement operation targeting convicted criminals
The New York metropolitan area was the site of a major ICE ERO enforcement action. Over 5 days, ERO arrested 58 individual aliens with criminal histories that included rape, kidnapping, robbery and burglary. “Law enforcement operations like this underscore that ICE is committed to putting public safety first,“ said Raymond Simonse, acting field office director for ERO New York, “our nation has a proud history of immigration, but we are also a nation governed by laws specifically designed to protect our citizens and residents. Those who come to the United States to prey upon our neighbors and communities will be prosecuted for their crimes and ultimately returned to their home countries."