ICE El Paso removes Mexican man convicted of felony drug charge
EL PASO — A noncitizen, convicted of an aggravated drug felony, was removed to Mexico on Thursday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Felix-Eduardo Gomez-Hernandez, 32, a Mexican citizen, was removed at the Stanton Street Bridge in downtown El Paso. Gomez-Hernandez was considered a threat to public safety and an ICE enforcement priority due to an aggravated felony conviction for manufacturing and delivering methamphetamine.
On Feb. 10, 2008, Gomez-Hernandez was legally admitted into the United States at the Ysleta Port of Entry in El Paso as a non-immigrant visitor. However, he failed to comply with the conditions of the non-immigrant status under which he entered the United States.
On Jan. 27, troopers with the Department of Public Safety arrested him in El Paso for knowingly possessing a controlled substance (methamphetamine) with intent to deliver. On the same day, ERO officers with ICE’s Criminal Alien Program (CAP) encountered him at the El Paso County Detention Facility and lodged an immigration detainer with the jail.
On April 20, he was convicted of manufacturing and delivering a controlled substance (methamphetamine), an aggravated felony. He was sentenced to 10 years’ probation. The following day he was released from jail and turned over to the custody of ICE.
Under federal law, ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement partners who have custody of individuals arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable noncitizens. The detainer form asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the noncitizen for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody.
The mission of ICE’s Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is to identify removable noncitizens incarcerated in jails and prisons following their criminal arrest or criminal convictions. After these noncitizens are identified, ICE deportation officers place immigration detainers on these individuals to ensure that ICE is informed before they are released for any reason. The CAP program helps enforce U.S. immigration laws while also improving public safety by ensuring that criminal noncitizens are not released to the streets.
ICE is charged with enforcing federal immigration laws enacted by Congress. ICE officers are sworn law enforcement officers who carry out the arrest, detention and removal of individuals found to be in the United States unlawfully.
ICE is now implementing the interim civil immigration enforcement priorities directed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to focus its limited resources on threats to national security, border security and public safety. ICE continues to carry out its duty to enforce the laws of the United States in accordance with the Department’s national security and public safety mission.