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February 16, 2024Harlingen, TX, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Harlingen removes noncitizen wanted for fraud in Mexico

HARLINGEN, Texas — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Harlingen field office 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 on Feb. 15.

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

On Dec. 4, 2022, De La Pena entered the United States at Laredo, Texas, but failed to comply with the terms of her admission into the United States when she did not depart by May 25, 2023.

On June 22, 2023, authorities in Mexico issued a warrant for her arrest related to fraud charges.

On July 13, 2023, ERO arrested De La Pena in San Antonio and served her with a notice to appear. She entered ERO custody at the Webb County Detention Center in Laredo, where she remained until Aug. 10, 2023, when was transferred to the Laredo Processing Center pending immigration proceedings.

On Jan. 17, an immigration judge ordered her removed to her native country of Mexico. ERO removed her on Feb. 15 through Laredo at the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, where she was turned over to Mexican authorities without incident.

ERO conducts removals of individuals without a lawful basis to remain in the United States, including at the order of immigration judges with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is a separate entity from the Department of Homeland Security and ICE. Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case, determining if a noncitizen is subject to a final order of removal or eligible for certain forms of relief from removal.

As one of ICE’s three operational directorates, ERO is the principal federal law enforcement authority in charge of domestic immigration enforcement. ERO’s mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of those who undermine the safety of U.S. communities and the integrity of U.S. immigration laws, and its primary areas of focus are interior enforcement operations, management of the agency’s detained and non-detained populations, and repatriation of noncitizens who have received final orders of removal. ERO’s workforce consists of more than 7,700 law enforcement and non-law enforcement support personnel across 25 domestic field offices and 208 locations nationwide, 30 overseas postings, and multiple temporary duty travel assignments along the border.