DENVER - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 45 fugitives and immigration violators throughout Colorado during a three-day initiative targeting immigration absconders which ended Thursday.
"Fugitive aliens" are illegal aliens who fail to appear for their immigration hearings, or they abscond after being ordered to leave the country by a federal immigration judge.
During the three-day operation, which began Jan. 27, the three local ICE Fugitive Operations Teams targeted immigration fugitives in Rock Springs, Wyo., and the following northern Colorado cities: Denver, Greeley, Fort Collins, Longmont, Eaton, Loveland, Platteville and Montrose.
Of those arrested, 28 were fugitives targeted by ICE who already had final orders of deportation; 17 were immigration violators encountered by ICE officers during their targeted arrests. Of the total arrested, 28 had criminal convictions, including sexual assault of a child, car theft, and resisting arrest. Following are three examples of the criminals ICE arrested during this operation:
" Jose Luis Fajardo, 46, from Mexico, was arrested by the Denver Fugitive Operations Team on Jan. 28. He was convicted in Denver County District Court in September 2005 for sexually assaulting a child while in a position of trust, a class five felony. He is in ICE custody being held without bond.
" Ana Isabel Jaimes-Ocampo, 25, from Mexico, was arrested by the Denver Fugitive Operations Team Jan. 28. She was convicted in Denver County District Court in March 2007 for sexually assaulting a child, a class five felony. She is in ICE custody being held without bond.
" Bladimir Cruz-Renteria, 33, from Mexico, was arrested at his residence by the Denver Fugitive Operations Team Jan. 29. He was convicted of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl, a class 1 misdemeanor. He is in ICE custody being held without bond, awaiting deportation.
"Our ICE Fugitive Operations Teams remove criminal aliens from the streets, and they enhance the integrity of the immigration system," said John Longshore, field office director for the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Denver. "ICE uses all the tools and resources at our disposal to locate fugitives who show a blatant disregard for our nation's immigration laws."
During fiscal year 2008, which ended Sept. 30, the local ICE Fugitive Operations Teams in the area covered by the Denver ICE office have made 571 arrests. Of the total, 453 were fugitive aliens who had failed to comply with their outstanding deportation orders; 118 were immigration violators encountered by the ICE Fugitive Operations Teams during their targeted arrests. Denver's Office of Detention and Removal oversees the states of Colorado and Wyoming.
ICE established its National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP) in 2003 to eliminate the nation's backlog of immigration fugitives and ensure that deportation orders handed down by immigration judges are enforced. Today, ICE has more than 100 Fugitive Operations Teams deployed across the country.
In fiscal year 2008, ICE's NFOP has made more than 34,100 arrests nationwide, which included more than 25,800 fugitives. Additionally, in 2007 and for the first time in history, the nation's fugitive alien population declined and continues to do so, in large part because of the work of the NFOP. Estimates now place the number of immigration fugitives in the United States at about 560,000, a decrease of nearly 37,000 since October 2007.
ICE's Fugitive Operations Program is an integral part of the comprehensive multi-year plan launched by the Department of Homeland Security to secure America's borders and reduce illegal migration. That strategy seeks to gain operational control of both the northern and southern borders, while re-engineering the detention and removal system to ensure that illegal aliens are removed from the country quickly and efficiently.