RENO, Nev. - A total of 16 convicted criminal aliens and immigration fugitives have been arrested following a four-day enforcement operation in the Reno area carried out by officers from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
During the operation, which ended Friday morning, ICE officers located and took into custody 15 deportable aliens with prior criminal convictions, including a 40-year-old woman from Mexico who was ordered deported by an immigration judge earlier this year based upon her 2003 conviction for willfully endangering a child. Another one of the criminal aliens taken into custody is a documented member of the MS-13 street gang with prior arrests for robbery and stalking. In addition to the foreign nationals with prior criminal convictions, ICE officers also arrested one non-criminal immigration fugitive, that is an alien who has a final order of deportation. Of those taken into custody during the enforcement action, two have already been removed from the United States.
The four-day surge was conducted by the ICE ERO Office in Reno with assistance from officers assigned to the agency's Las Vegas-based Fugitive Operations Team. ICE also received substantial support in the effort from the Nevada Department of Public Safety's Parole and Probation Division.
"This multi-day, ICE operation targeted criminal and fugitive aliens throughout the Reno area," said ICE Director John Morton. "These surge operations, and our daily targeting of aliens with criminal convictions, are some of the many tools that ICE uses to effectively reduce crime at the street level in communities throughout the United States."
The 12 men and four women arrested in the Reno area during the operation are from Mexico and El Salvador. Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining aliens will be held in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or travel arrangements for removal in the near future.
This week's enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives. ICE's Fugitive Operations Teams (FOTs) give top priority to cases involving aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including members of transnational street gangs and child sex offenders.
The officers who conducted this week's operation received substantial assistance from ICE's Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC) located in Williston, Vt. The FOSC conducted exhaustive database checks on the targeted cases to help ensure the viability of the leads and accuracy of the criminal histories. The FOSC was established in 2006 to improve the integrity of the data available on at large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives nationwide. Since its inception, the FOSC has forwarded more than 550,000 case leads to ICE enforcement personnel in the field.
ICE's Fugitive Operations Program is just one facet of the Department of Homeland Security's broader strategy to heighten the federal government's effectiveness at identifying and removing dangerous criminal aliens from the United States. Other initiatives that figure prominently in this effort are the Criminal Alien Program, Secure Communities and the agency's partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies under 287(g).
Largely as a result of these initiatives, ICE removed a record 195,772 convicted criminal aliens from the United States in fiscal year 2010.