COLUMBUS, Ohio - More than 40 criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and immigration violators are facing deportation and criminal charges following an enforcement effort spearheaded by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Columbus.
During the day of enforcement activity, ICE made a total of 47 arrests in Franklin, Hamilton and Butler counties.
Of those taken into custody, 18 were aliens with prior criminal convictions, seven had been previously deported who returned to the United States illegally after being removed, and four were immigration fugitives who failed to comply with a final order of deportation issued by an immigration judge. The remaining illegal aliens arrested were encountered by ERO officers during the course of the action.
One alien was encountered with the eight kilograms of cocaine and two garbage bags of marijuana. He had been previously removed from the United States and had an outstanding felony warrant from Franklin county for possession of dangerous drugs and narcotic equipment and was subsequently turned over to Franklin County.
The criminal histories of those arrested included prior arrests and convictions for a variety of violations; domestic violence, resisting arrest, aggravated assault, menacing, possession of drugs, possession of narcotics equipment, shoplifting, burglary and forgery. Since many of the individuals have outstanding orders of deportation or have been previously deported, they are subject to immediate removal from the country.
"A top priority for ICE ERO in Ohio is to locate and arrest criminal aliens and ultimately remove them from our country in a safe and humane manner," said Rebecca Adducci, field office director of ERO for Ohio and Michigan. "This operation is yet another example of the critical role that targeted immigration enforcement plays in protecting our communities."
The group arrested included 47 males and no females from six different countries: Mexico (26), Guatemala (14), El Salvador (3), Nicaragua (1), Honduras (2) and Paraguay (1).
Largely as a result of these initiatives, ICE set a record for overall removals of illegal aliens in fiscal year 2010, with more than 392,000 removals nationwide. Half of those removed - more than 195,000 - were convicted criminals. The fiscal year 2010 statistics represent increases of more than 23,000 removals overall and 81,000 criminal removals compared to fiscal year 2008 - a more than 70 percent increase in removal of criminal aliens.
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).