U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is dedicated to promoting homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration.
From major arrests to policy and procedure updates, the diverse activities of ICE’s four main directorates, Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI), Enforcement and Removal Operation’s (ERO), Management and Administration (M&A) and Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) are reflected in the most viewed stories on ICE.gov. As 2015 draws to a close, here’s a look back at the top ERO, HSI and M&A stories of the year.
Top Overall ICE.gov story
The most viewed article of 2015 was a March 13 news release seeking the public’s help identifying a man captured on video sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl. This child predator was arrested after a tip from the public led to his identification and whereabouts.
Top five HSI stories
ICE HSI is the primary investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) combating criminal organizations that illegally exploit America’s travel, trade, financial and immigration systems. In 2015, HSI sought the public’s help to locate child predators and human traffickers, continued to root out gangs and more. The top five HSI stories are listed below.
On March 13, ICE disseminated a press release seeking the public’s help in identifying a child predator caught on video sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl. Due to the incredible support of the general public, the man was identified and arrested.
On January 27, ICE released the names and photographs of 10 fugitives wanted for human trafficking, in the hope that tips from the public could lead to the identification and arrest of these individuals.
On October 16, DHS proposed changes to the optional practical training program (OPT), which allows nonimmigrant international students to extend their time in the U.S. to gain on-the-job-experience for up to a year. The proposed changes allowed students to extend their OPT period by 24 months.
Nearly 1,000 gang members and associates from 239 different gangs were arrested in 282 cities across the U.S. during Project Wildfire, a six-week operation led by HSI which target transnational criminal gangs.
On January 27, in light of Human Trafficking Prevention Month, ICE released the emotional and telling story of a female known as G, a 26-year-old Michigan resident who was forced into an abusive living situation after she fell victim to a human trafficking scam.
Top five ERO stories
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) enforces the nation’s immigration laws by identifying, arresting and removing aliens who present a danger to national security. In 2015, ERO made several significant arrests and updated policies and procedures allowing them to uphold the ICE mission. Those efforts were highlighted on ICE.gov. The five most viewed ERO-related stories of the year are below.
On March 1, ICE ERO conducted Operation Cross Check, a five-day nationwide operation targeting convicted criminal aliens subject to removal from the U.S. Operation Cross Check led to the apprehension of more than 2,000 criminal aliens with prior convictions including voluntary manslaughter, child pornography, robbery, kidnapping and rape.
ERO officers arrested one of its most wanted fugitives on August 14 after he was located in Norfolk, Virginia. The Salvadoran fugitive was convicted in New Mexico of sexually abusing a child and faces administrative removal proceedings.
On March 18, ICE announced enhanced oversight and release procedures for custody determinations involving individuals with criminal convictions.
On June 2, ERO arrested 27 criminal foreign fugitives from 13 different countries wanted for crimes including homicide, kidnapping, raping a child and human sex trafficking.
On May 13, ICE announced plans to enhance oversight and accountability at their family residential centers and ensure that these centers continue to serve as safe and humane facilities for families pending immigration proceedings.
Top M&A story
Special agents from HSI’s Special Response Teams completed the agency’s first Protective Security Operations Training Program June 19, coordinated by M&A’s Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs (OFTP).
Footnote: Top stories are determined by overall views by visitors to ICE.gov during the calendar year.