NEW YORK – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrested 93 foreign-born convicted sex offenders in June in New York through a targeted enforcement initiative known as Operation SOAR (Sex Offender Alien Removal).
Of the 93 people arrested, 67 were child predators convicted of sex offenses involving minors. The remaining offenders were convicted of victimizing adults. Operation SOAR began June 17 and ended June 28 and was conducted by ERO Fugitive Operations teams based in New York with support from the U.S. Marshals Service.
"This operation was specifically designed to target and arrest criminal aliens who have been convicted of sex crimes," said Christopher Shanahan, field office director for ERO New York. "By removing these criminal aliens from our streets and our country, we immediately improve public safety in these communities."
With the exception of one woman from Ecuador convicted of sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl, all of those arrested were men. Those arrested were from more than 20 countries ranging from Afghanistan to Yugoslavia. The majority, 29, were from El Salvador.
Of the 93 arrested, 76 were classified as Level 1 offenders, ICE’s highest threat classification. Fifteen arrestees were Level 2 offenders, and two were Level 3. Convictions include:
- A 58-year-old man from the Dominican Republic convicted of sexually assaulting his 9-year-old child.
- A 36-year-old man from Grenada convicted of statutory rape after he engaged in intercourse with a female less than 14 years of age.
- A 23-year-old man from Honduras convicted of unlawful surveillance for installing a hidden camera in a girl’s bathroom.
These arrests were coordinated with ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives – aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation handed down by federal immigration courts. ICE's Fugitive Operations teams 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.
ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security. ICE also prioritizes the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system including immigration fugitives or criminal aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.
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.