week of Feb. 23, 2024


Check out our weekly recap of top news from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement highlighting the work of Enforcement Removal and Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). For more news from ICE, visit our newsroom.

Individuals who lack a lawful basis to stay in the United States are ordered removed, consistent with U.S. law - all individuals who are removed have been screened for protection concerns.

ICE conducts single adult, family unit removal flights Feb. 23

ICE, working in close coordination across the Department of Homeland Security, including with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, continued to facilitate removal flights of single adults and family units from Feb. 19 through Feb. 23. Those included removal flights to Central America, Colombia, Nepal, Ecuador, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico. 

From May 12, 2023, to Feb 21, 2024, DHS has removed or returned over 565,000 individuals, the vast majority of whom crossed the Southwest Border, including more than 91,000 individual family members. The majority of all individuals encountered at the Southwest Border over the past three years have been removed, returned, or expelled. 🔗 Keep reading


“Today’s announcement demonstrates the unwavering resolve of the United States and our Estonian partners to cut off President Putin's access to the western technologies he relies on to wage an illegal war against Ukraine.” -- Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco

HSI investigation leads to $500K forfeiture to Estonia for benefit to Ukraine

On Feb. 17, U.S. officials, along with Estonian Secretary General Tõnis Saar, announced an agreement to transfer nearly $500,000 to Estonian authorities. This funding is intended to provide aid to Ukraine and comes from funds forfeited by the United States following an HSI counterproliferation investigation that resulted in the breakup of an illegal procurement network attempting to import a high-precision, U.S.-origin machine tool into Russia. 🔗 Keep reading


“We will remain steadfast to our commitment of keeping communities safe. Undocumented citizens who have committed crimes in their home countries will find no refuge in the U.S.” -- ERO Harlingen Field Office Director Miguel Vergara.

ERO Harlingen removes noncitizen wanted for fraud in Mexico

ERO Harlingen removed an undocumented noncitizen wanted by authorities in Mexico for fraud. Deportation officers assigned to the ERO Laredo suboffice removed Alma De La Pena-Sanchez, 54, from the United States to Mexico Feb. 15. 🔗 Keep reading


“Arresting these individuals is not just about justice; it’s also about upholding the value of every child’s innocence and trying to provide a safer world for our children. HSI Baltimore will continue to work vigorously with our law enforcement partners to investigate and apprehend anyone engaged in such repulsive and predatory behavior.” -- HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris

Florida man sentenced to 60 years for sexually exploiting a child following HSI Frederick investigation

An investigation by HSI Frederick and the Hagerstown Police Department resulted in a 60-year prison sentence with a lifetime of supervised release for a Florida man guilty of two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. John W. Balch, 76, of Jacksonville, received the six-decade sentence Jan. 26 at the U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Balch’s co-defendant, Jane Ellen Campbell, 35, of Hagerstown, received a 210-month federal prison sentence with 15 years of supervised release for distributing child sexual abuse material as a relative of one of the victims. 🔗 Keep reading


“This Salvadoran gang member has not only displayed a disregard for U.S. immigration laws, but he has also proven to be a violent criminal and a threat to the people of Maryland,” said ERO Baltimore Field Office Director Darius Reeves. “We will not allow such malicious offenders to intimidate the residents of our communities. ERO Baltimore will continue to prioritize the safety of our public and the removal of unlawfully present threats to our neighborhoods.”

ERO Baltimore arrests unlawfully present Salvadoran gang member convicted of assault in Maryland

ERO Baltimore apprehended a 23-year-old noncitizen who was convicted of an assault in Maryland in 2022. Deportation officers from ERO Baltimore’s Fugitive Operations Team arrested the Salvadoran national, who is an MS-13 gang member, on Feb. 6 near his residence. The Salvadoran national unlawfully entered the United States on an unknown date at an unknown location without being inspected, admitted or paroled by an immigration official. 🔗 Keep reading

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety.