Skip to main content
February 10, 2023Dallas, TX, United StatesHuman Rights Violators

ERO Dallas removes former Salvadoran officer for human rights violations

DALLAS — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Dallas removed a former Salvadoran military officer from the United States on Feb. 10 for his role in human rights violations in his home country of El Salvador.

ERO removed Arnoldo Antonio Vásquez Alvarenga, a 60-year-old citizen of El Salvador who was previously a naturalized U.S. citizen, from the United States.

On Jan.12, ERO Dallas, supported by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas, apprehended Vásquez Alvarenga in Plano and served him with Notice to Appear before an immigration court as an individual who engaged in extrajudicial killings in his home country.

Vásquez Alvarenga entered the United States in Houston on Feb. 13, 1999, with lawful status and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in February 2004. An investigation by HSI Dallas and ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC), with the assistance of the HSI Attaché in San Salvador, showed that Vásquez Alvarenga assisted in killing 10 people in September 1988 in what came to be known as the San Sebastian massacre, as well as in the subsequent cover-up of the massacre by the Salvadoran armed forces.

On Feb. 10, 2017, the Office of Immigration Litigation filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to revoke Vásquez Alvarenga’s citizenship based on his role in extrajudicial killing and the subsequent cover-up. The court ordered Vásquez Alvarenga’s certificate of naturalization canceled and revoked his U.S. citizenship in August 2021.

After his denaturalization, Vásquez Alvarenga faced removal charges in immigration court for having assisted or otherwise participated in extrajudicial killing pursuant to section 237(a)(4)(D) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, Dallas prosecuted the case on behalf of ICE. On Feb.1, an immigration judge sustained the charge of removal and ordered Vásquez Alvarenga’s removal from the United States to El Salvador.

“This individual’s removal is the appropriate and necessary action to sustain the viability of the U.S. naturalization process. His previous involvement in an egregious human rights violation completely voids his right to U.S. citizenship,” said ERO Dallas interim Field Office Director Robert K. Lynch Jr. “With his removal from the U.S. to El Salvador, we have played a part in ensuring that the United States is not a safe haven for human rights violators.”

Established in 2008, the HRVWCC furthers HSI’s efforts to identify, locate and prosecute human rights abusers in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, female genital mutilation and the use or recruitment of child soldiers. The HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders. Since 2003, HSI has arrested more than 480 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, HSI obtained deportation orders against and physically removed 1,100 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, HSI has facilitated the departure of an additional 186 such individuals from the United States.

Currently, HSI has more than 160 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,700 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the HRVWCC has issued more than 78,000 lookouts for individuals and stopped over 350 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the United States.

Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE tip line at 866-347-2423 internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form. Callers may remain anonymous.

For more news and information on how the ICE ERO Dallas Field Office carries out its immigration enforcement mission, follow us on Twitter @ERODallas.

ERO, a directorate of ICE, upholds U.S. immigration law at, within, and beyond our borders. ERO operations target public safety threats, such as convicted criminal noncitizens and gang members, who have violated our nation's immigration laws, including those who illegally re-enter the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges. ERO deportation officers assigned to Interpol also assist in targeting foreign fugitives for crimes committed abroad at-large in the U.S. ERO manages all aspects of the immigration enforcement process, including identification and arrest, detention, bond management, supervised release, transportation, and removal. Additionally, ERO repatriates noncitizens ordered removed from the U.S. to more than 150 countries worldwide.