ATLANTA – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) administratively arrested 20 aliens convicted of sexual offenses in the Carolinas and Georgia Monday through Wednesday as part of Operation SOAR (Sex Offender Alien Removal), which targets criminal aliens who are removable due to convictions for sexual offenses.
"ICE uses its unique immigration authorities to identify and arrest those who present a threat to our community," said Felicia Skinner, field office director of ICE ERO in the Carolinas and Georgia. "By taking these criminals off the streets we truly have made our communities safer, particularly for our children, who are most often the victims of these offenders."
In North Carolina, a total of 12 arrests were made, primarily in the Charlotte and Raleigh areas. Of the remaining eight arrests, two were made in South Carolina and six in Georgia.
Some of the most egregious offenders arrested include:
- A 48-year-old Mexican citizen and lawful permanent resident convicted in Harris County, Texas, district court of indecency with a child and sentenced to four years in prison. He is being held in local custody pending transfer to ICE for removal proceedings.
- A 34-year-old Mexican citizen convicted in the district court at Monroe, N.C. for the offense of misdemeanor assault on a female and sentenced to 60 days in jail. He was also convicted in the superior court of Union County, N.C., for two counts of felony indecent liberties with a child and sentenced to 20 months in prison. He will be held in ICE custody pending his removal to Mexico.
- A 35-year-old Mexican citizen unlawfully present in the United States convicted in the superior court of Santa Cruz, Calif., for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 14 years old and sentenced to three years in prison. He is being held in ICE custody pending his removal proceedings.
- A 47-year-old Mexican citizen and lawful permanent resident convicted in the state court of Fla., Desoto County, for a sex act with a child in familial authority and sentenced to seven years in prison. He is being held in ICE custody pending his removal proceedings.
This enforcement initiative was a part of ongoing operations being conducted in North Carolina in an effort to locate criminal aliens living within the community and who pose a threat to public safety. In addition to the at-large sexual offenders apprehended during this operation, ERO officers assigned to the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) identified another 79 removable aliens currently in state and local law enforcement custody with sexual offense convictions.
ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of convicted criminal aliens, fugitives, recent illegal border crossers and egregious immigration law violators, such as those who have been previously removed from the United States. ICE's enforcement approach is enhancing public safety in communities around the country. In fiscal year 2011, ICE removed a total of 5,849 sexual offenders from the United States.
ICE encourages the public to report suspicious criminal activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE and its online tip form. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.