CHICAGO - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Fugitive Operations Teams arrested 43 fugitive aliens and immigration violators in the Chicago metropolitan area during a five-day initiative that ended Tuesday night.
"Fugitive aliens" are illegal aliens who fail to appear for their immigration hearings, or they abscond after having been ordered to leave the country by a federal immigration judge.
During the five-day operation, which ended June 24, ICE Fugitive Operations Team members arrested illegal aliens in Chicago, Highland Park, Waukegan, Highwood, and other cities in the metropolitan area. Twenty-five of those arrested were fugitives; 18 were immigration violators encountered by ICE officers during their targeted arrests. Of the 43 apprehended, 20 have previous criminal convictions in addition to their administrative immigration violations.
The Chicago ICE office oversees a six-state area that includes: Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Kentucky. During the same five days, Fugitive Teams in Kansas City, Mo., and Milwaukee arrested 48 and 32 illegal aliens, respectively. Of the 80 arrests, 31 were fugitives and 51 were immigration violators encountered by ICE officers during their targeted arrests. Twenty-eight of the 80 had criminal convictions in addition to their administrative immigration violations.
"It's important for us to send a strong message to anyone who ignores deportation orders handed down by federal immigration judges," said Glenn Triveline, field office director for the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Chicago. "ICE uses all the tools and resources at our disposal to locate criminal and illegal aliens and return them home."
Those arrested in Illinois are from the following countries: Albania, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Jordan, Mexico, Poland and Yugoslavia.
Following are some of the criminal aliens arrested by ICE's Chicago Fugitive Operations Teams during this latest operation:
Jose Gabriel Arroyo-Diaz, aka Alejandro Gusman-Santibanez, 38, a citizen of Mexico, was arrested at his residence in Highwood. Arroyo-Diaz pleaded guilty to attempted child abduction in 2003 in Lake County, Ill., and was sentenced to 160 days in prison. He was previously deported after he was released from prison, and illegally re-entered the United States.
Jose Manuel Del Rio, 29, a Mexican citizen, was arrested outside his residence in Whiting, Ind. Del Rio's criminal history includes a conviction in 1998 in Los Angeles for being the owner of chop shop for stolen cars, and he was sentenced to 180 days in prison. Del Rio was also convicted in 2002 in Los Angeles for inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant.
Jose Garcia-Mata, 22, a Mexican citizen, was arrested at his residence in Highland. A known member of the Spanish Gangster Disciples gang, he was convicted in May in Cook County for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Garcia illegally entered the United States in 2000.
Juan Roman Bautista-Eusebio, 20, a citizen of Mexico, was arrested at his residence in Highwood. A known member of the Spanish Gang Disciples gang, Bautista-Eusebio was convicted in May 2006 in Lake County for obstructing justice. He last entered the United States illegally in 1997.
Through May 31 of fiscal year 2008, which began Oct. 1, 2007, 1,167 illegal aliens were arrested by Fugitive Teams in the six-state area covered by the Chicago ICE office. Of the total, 951 were fugitive aliens; 216 were immigration violators encountered by the ICE Fugitive Operations Team during their targeted arrests. Of the 1,167 apprehended, 164 had criminal convictions in addition to their administrative immigration violations. In all of fiscal year 2006, Fugitive Operations Teams in the six-state area arrested 1,043 aliens.
ICE established its Fugitive Operations Program in 2003 to eliminate the nation's backlog of immigration fugitives and ensure that deportation orders handed down by immigration judges are enforced. Today, ICE has 84 Fugitive Operations Teams deployed across the country, and an additional 20 teams will be added by the end of September.
Last year, the fugitive operations teams nearly doubled the number of 2006 arrests, increasing from 15,000 to more than 30,000. Additionally, in 2007, the nation's fugitive alien population declined for the first time in history and continues to do so, in large part because of the work of the Fugitive Operations Teams and our Fugitive Operations Support Center, which helps to clear outstanding cases. Estimates now place the number of immigration fugitives in the United States at approximately 572,000, a decrease of nearly 23,000 since October 2007.
The Fugitive Operations Teams successes are attributed, in part, to ICE's expanded partnerships with local law enforcement agencies nationwide, and the newly created Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC) in Vermont, which aids in gathering and analyzing information on fugitive cases across the country. This center was opened last year and has since disseminated more than 150,000 case leads to ICE agents.
ICE's Fugitive Operations Program is an integral part of the comprehensive multi-year plan launched by the Department of Homeland Security to secure America's borders and reduce illegal migration. That strategy seeks to gain operational control of both the northern and southern borders, while re-engineering the detention and removal system to ensure that illegal aliens are removed from the country quickly and efficiently.