PHILADELPHIA – Criminal aliens who were ordered removed from the United States by a judge for being here illegally and who pose threats to communities were targeted for removal during a five-day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Philadelphia field office spearheaded the enforcement surge from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 that resulted in 39 arrests in the three states. Those arrested are from all over the world and have a wide-array of criminal convictions — many have committed multiple offenses.
“Due to the tireless efforts of the ICE enforcement officers, more than three dozen convicted criminals were taken off the streets,” said Tom Decker, ERO Philadelphia field office director. “We will continue to ensure our country is not a safe haven for nefarious foreign nationals.”
Examples of those arrested, by area, include:
Philadelphia area 17 arrests:
A Honduran national sexual predator who was convicted of corruption of minors after he sexually touched a girl’s chest in a church. The criminal was also previously deported.
Dover, Delaware area 3 arrests:
A Guatemalan national who had four driving under the influence (DUI) convictions as well as a criminal sexual conduct conviction. He was also previously removed from the United States two times.
Berks County, Pennsylvania area 6 arrests:
A Mexican national who was convicted of carrying a firearm and also convicted of theft.
Pittsburgh area 6 arrests:
A Russian national who was twice convicted for domestic violence in another state.
Charleston, West Virginia area 7 arrests:
A Mexican national who was convicted for human smuggling and was also previously deported.
Targets in this operation met the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) two top immigration enforcement priorities as established in DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson's 2014 memorandum. Priority 1 targets include threats to national security, criminal street gang members, convicted felons, and aggravated felons. Priority 2 targets include convictions for three or more misdemeanors or convictions for significant misdemeanors, including DUIs.
Secretary Johnson directed ICE to prioritize the use of enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal assets to support the Department's civil immigration enforcement priorities. ICE continues to work with local law enforcement partners to uphold public safety, while taking dangerous criminals out of our communities.
In fiscal 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 return to the U.S. after being previously removed by ICE – and immigration fugitives.