ICE prioritizes removing criminal noncitizens

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the high profile removal process

cropped image of shackled feet walking up the stairs to a plane

Since U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was established in March 2003, the agency has removed hundreds of thousands of noncitizens, some of whom fall under the category of high-profile removals.

High-profile removals are not only a danger to communities, but they also pose a threat to the officers who apprehend them and ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers who escort them back to their home countries, which may be as close as Mexico or as far as Yemen, Iraq, Rwanda and the Czech Republic.

Which criminal noncitizens fall under a high-profile removal status? Most are fugitive noncitizen removals, meaning that he or she is wanted for a crime in another country regardless of the severity of the crime. Fugitive noncitizen removals cases generally involve those who’ve committed serious crimes, including murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug offenses, noncitizen smuggling, fraud or theft. Some high profile removals are national security risks, such as suspected terrorists, those involved in counter-proliferation crimes or are on the Terrorist Watch list and/or the No-Fly list.

The arrest and removal of high-profile criminal noncitizens send a powerful message to the rest of the world: United States will not allow it’s free and open society to be used as a hiding place for another nation’s most violent criminals and human rights violators to use as an escape from justice.

Since January 2017, a sample of the foreign fugitives ICE has removed include: