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December 20, 2019Philadelphia, PA, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE arrests 17 criminal aliens on 5-day operation

PHILADELPHIA – Officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Philadelphia arrested 17 criminal aliens during a 5-day enforcement operation ending Dec. 13.

Five of the criminal aliens apprehended were previously released by the city of Philadelphia due to the sanctuary city policies. The crimes of these individuals ranged from multiple DUIs to possession and intent to distribute Heroin, as well as violating U.S. immigration law.

Arrests include:

  • A 33 years-old citizen of Ecuador, who has pending criminal charges for DUI and Endangering the Welfare of Children;
  • A 30 years-old citizen of Honduras, who has been convicted of three separate DUI offenses;
  • A 53 years-old citizen of the Dominican Republic, who has been convicted Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin;
  • A 20-year old citizen of Jamaica, who has multiple convictions for Possession with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances and Carrying Firearms without a license;
  • A 38 years-old citizen of India, who has pending charges of Theft and Receiving Stolen Property
“During this operation, our officers were able to locate and apprehend more than a dozen individuals who have committed crimes in our country, while seeking sanctuary in our cities,” said ICE Philadelphia Field Office Director Simona Flores-Lund. “One-third of these individuals could have been off our streets earlier, however, the city of Philadelphia believes that allowing criminals and drug dealers to roam freely in their communities outweighs cooperating with federal law enforcement.”

ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE deportation officers carry out targeted enforcement actions every day in locations around the country as part of the agency's ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety, and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls. These operations involve existing, established Fugitive Operations Teams.

About Detainers

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody.

When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission. This negatively impacts public safety and ICE’s efficiency in the apprehension of criminal aliens. Federal immigration laws authorize DHS to issue detainers and provide ICE broad authority to detain removable aliens.

Congress has established no process, requirement, or expectation directing ICE to seek a judicial warrant from already overburdened federal courts before taking custody of an alien on civil immigration violations. This idea is simply a figment created by those who wish to undermine immigration enforcement and excuse the ill-conceived practices of sanctuary jurisdictions that put politics before public safety.

Sanctuary Policies Put Public Safety at Risk

  • When law enforcement agencies don’t honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat.
  • Any local jurisdiction thinking that refusing to cooperate with ICE will result in a decrease in local immigration enforcement is mistaken. Local jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE are likely to see an increase in ICE enforcement activity, as ICE the agency has no choice but to conduct more at-large arrest operations. A consequence of ICE being forced to make more arrests on the streets is the agency is likely to encounter other unlawfully present foreign nationals that wouldn’t have been encountered had we been allowed to take custody of a criminal target within the confines of a local jail.
  • Additionally, once these criminals are out on the street, confirming their whereabouts is often time consuming and resource intensive. Many of our arrest targets are seasoned criminals who are savvy about eluding law enforcement.