GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) ongoing efforts to focus agency resources on the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, 97 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and other immigration violators were arrested during a four-day operation in West Michigan.
This operation concluded late Thursday and was conducted by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) teams from Grand Rapids and Detroit.
Of the 97 arrested, 60 had prior convictions for crimes such as: sex with a minor, assault, illegal firearm possession, drug possession and theft. Twenty three are immigration fugitives who had been previously ordered to leave the country but failed to depart; 11 others had been previously deported and illegally re-entered the United States, which is a felony. Three other immigration violators were arrested during the operation and placed in removal proceedings.
Following is the nationality breakdown of the 86 men and 11 women arrested: Mexico (66), Guatemala (18), Honduras (3), Laos (2), Dominican Republic (2), Canada (1), Romania (1), Cambodia (1), Vietnam (1), India (1) and Thailand (1). Arrests were made in the following 11 West Michigan communities: Grand Rapids, Holland, Wyoming, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Fennville, Grant, Niles, Kentwood, Newaygo and Pullman.
Following are summaries of three individuals arrested during this operation:
- A 39-year-old Laotian man with a prior conviction for criminal sexual conduct with a minor, assault on a female and petty theft. He was arrested Jan. 8 at a residence in Holland and will remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
- A 38-year-old Mexican man, who was previously deported, has a prior conviction for firearm possession. He was arrested Jan. 7 at residence in Grand Rapids. The U.S. Attorney's Office has accepted this case for criminal prosecution for re-entry after deportation.
- A 56-year-old Mexican man who has a prior conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon. He was arrested Jan. 6 at a residence in Grand Rapids and will remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
"Our focus on priority targets continues to contribute significantly to the safety and security of communities in West Michigan and throughout the state," said Rebecca Adducci, field office director for ERO Detroit. "By targeting criminal aliens and egregious immigration violators, we are ensuring the best use of agency resources and a continued focus on public safety."
This enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives.
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.