ATLANTA, Ga. – During a three-day targeted enforcement operation in Georgia and the Carolinas, officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 80 convicted criminal aliens.
Operation Cross Check commenced Monday and concluded Wednesday. All 80 taken into custody had prior criminal convictions. Many of the criminal aliens taken into custody had prior convictions for serious or violent offenses including: aggravated assault; indecent liberties with a minor; family violence; sexual battery of a minor; possession of cocaine; possession of marijuana with intent to distribute; and weapon used in the commission of a crime.
"The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE's ongoing commitment to public safety," said Felicia Skinner, Field Office Director of ERO Atlanta. "When we focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens we get an immediate payback in our communities. Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers – along with our state and local law enforcement partners – there are 80 fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods in Georgia and the Carolinas."
Of those arrested, 20 were immigration fugitives, 14 re-entered the United States after a previous deportation and 46 were at-large criminals. The arrested aliens came from Mexico, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. ERO arrested 33 in Georgia, 15 in South Carolina and 32 in North Carolina.
All 80 were arrested administratively for being in violation of immigration law, and all are being held in ICE custody pending immigration removal proceedings or removal from the United States.
Some of those arrested during this operation include:
- A national of the Dominican Republic, who was convicted of multiple drug possession and trafficking crimes in New York, deported and then illegally re-entered the United States.
- A national of Mexico, who was convicted of the following crimes: possession and distribution of marijuana; and use of a weapon in commission of a crime.
This enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's National Criminal Alien Program, which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens. The officers who conducted the operation received substantial assistance from ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center located in Williston, Vt.
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 those criminal aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.
Largely as a result of these initiatives, for three years in a row, ICE has removed more aliens than were removed in fiscal year (FY) 2008. Overall, in FY 2011 ICE removed 396,906 individuals nationwide – the largest number in the agency's history. Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors – an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence. ICE achieved similar results with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. Ninety percent of all ICE's removals fell into a priority category and more than two-thirds of the other removals in 2011 were either recent border crossers or repeat immigration violators.