MIAMI - More than 115 immigration fugitives and immigration violators were arrested here following a five-day targeted enforcement action last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Miami Fugitive Operations Team. This enforcement effort focused on fugitives residing in Miami, Broward and the Florida Key areas.
During the operation, which concluded Friday, ICE fugitive operations teams arrested 74 immigration fugitives and 42 immigration violators. The breakdown of the arrests by county is as follows: 42 in Miami-Dade, 33 in Broward and 41 in Monroe.
"ICE helps to maintain the integrity of our nation's immigration system by identifying, arresting and removing aliens who have ignored a judge's order to leave the country," said Michael Rozos, field office director for the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Florida. "While we are a welcoming country, we expect those wanting to immigrate here to do so in a safe, legal and orderly manner. We will continue using all our resources to ensure that removal orders are carried out and locate these immigration violators who potentially pose a threat to public safety."
Eighteen of those arrested had criminal histories that spanned from sexual assault, possession of cocaine, weapons charges, battery, aggravated assault, larceny, driving under the influence and theft. Eighty-six individuals arrested remain in ICE custody and 30 were processed for removal and released on ICE supervision as part of the Alternatives to Detention Program (ATD). In these cases, ICE DRO officers exercised prosecutorial discretion by placing aliens with final orders of removal, who were verified to be sole caregivers or as having medical concerns, on orders of supervision.
The ATD Program was originally created to ensure appearance at immigration hearings by aliens who were determined not to pose a threat to national security or community safety and who did not pose an unacceptable flight risk. This program has provided effective community based supervision to eligible aliens. The departure of those placed on the orders of supervision will be verified by deportation officers.
An immigration fugitive is someone who has ignored a final order of deportation by a federal immigration judge. Those fugitives have already been ordered deported and are subject to immediate removal from the United States. The individuals who have illegally re-entered the U.S. after deportation are also subject to immediate removal from the U.S. The other immigration violators arrested during this operation who have not already been ordered removed, have been charged with immigration violations and placed into removal proceedings. They await hearings before an immigration judge.
Following are three of the criminal aliens arrested by ICE's Fugitive Operations Team during this targeted enforcement action:
- Allan Leopold Gordon, 49, a native and citizen of Jamaica and residing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who entered the United States on June 12, 1984, at Miami International Airport as a lawful permanent resident. Due to his criminal convictions of cocaine possession and possession of a concealed firearm by a convicted felon, he was placed in immigration proceedings and ordered removed by an immigration judge on January 7, 1997. Gordon filed an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals, which was dismissed on December 18, 1997, resulting in a final order of removal. Gordon is being held in ICE custody pending his removal from the U.S.
- Emmanuel Saintil, 58, a native and citizen of Haiti residing in Fort Lauderdale, who entered illegally into the U.S. in Miami on November 27, 1980 and was subsequently paroled into the U.S. pending exclusion proceedings to appear before an immigration judge. On January 1, 1982, Saintil adjusted his status to a lawful permanent resident. On July 21, 2006, an immigration judge ordered him removed from the U.S. based on an October 28, 1991, criminal conviction for a sex offense against a child-fondling/assault on a child under 16-years-old, which made him subject to removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act. He is being held in ICE custody pending his removal from the U.S.
- Jesus Bacharelis, 44, a citizen and national of Mexico and resident of Homestead, Fla. Jesus Bacharelis entered the United States at an unknown date and was ordered deported by an immigration judge on July 11, 1990. Bacharelis has five arrests and criminal convictions including prostitution, DUI, traffic offense, theft and burglary. Bacharelis is being held in ICE custody pending his removal from the U.S.
The Fugitive Operations Program (FOP) was established in 2003 to eliminate the nation's backlog of immigration fugitives and ensure that deportation orders handed down by immigration judges are enforced. So far this year ICE fugitive operations teams have made more than 30,000 arrests nationwide, which included more than 23,000 fugitives. Additionally, in 2007, the nation's fugitive alien population declined for the first time in history and continues to do so in large part due to 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 570,000, a decrease of nearly 25,000 since October 2007.
Much of the credit for those results can be attributed to the rapid expansion of the program. Today, ICE has 95 fugitive operations teams deployed across the country and nine additional teams will be added this fiscal year. Locally, the ICE Florida field office has seven operational teams.
Those arrested represent countries around the globe including Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Mexico, Honduras, China, Haiti, El Salvador, and Jamaica.
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. The plan also involves strong interior enforcement efforts, including enhanced worksite enforcement and intensified efforts to track down and remove illegal aliens inside the United States.