CHICAGO — A Belgian businessman, who completed his federal prison sentence for attempting to illegally export items that are controlled for nuclear non-proliferation purposes, was deported Tuesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Nicholas Kaiga, 37, of Brussels, Belgium, pleaded guilty in December 2014 in the Northern District of Illinois to attempting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA); he was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison.
Kaiga attempted to export aluminum tubing with a high-tensile strength (7075 T6 Aluminum Tubing) that is controlled for nuclear non-proliferation purposes. After the 1,800 feet of tubing was purchased from a suburban Chicago company, Kaiga tried to export it through Belgium to a company in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, without obtaining the required license from the U.S. Commerce Department. This aluminum tubing was believed to have been ultimately destined for Iran.
This conviction and sentence resulted from a lengthy undercover investigation conducted by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Kaiga was charged in a June 26, 2013 criminal complaint.
On June 8, 2015, a federal immigration judge ordered Kaiga to be deported. ICE took him into custody June 12 following his release from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. ERO officers removed Kaiga to Brussels via a commercial aircraft that departed Chicago O’Hare International Airport July 7.
In fiscal year 2014, ERO removed 315,943 individuals from the United States. In addition to convicted criminals, the agency's enforcement priorities include those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants — individuals who returned to the United States after being previously removed by ICE — and immigration fugitives. In fiscal year 2014, 98 percent of ICE removals met these priorities.