NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. - In a major removal operation U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported 94 Nigerian nationals yesterday to Lagos, Nigeria. Fifty-five of the Nigerians removed had criminal histories in the United States.
The criminal histories of those removed included sex crimes, assault, cruelty to a child, drug convictions, embezzlement, forgery, fraud and counterfeiting.
The flight, contracted for by the Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Operations Support and Coordination Unit, carried a total of 107 individuals being removed from the United States, including 11 Palestinian nationals, 1 Moroccan national and 1 Egyptian national. Four of the Palestinians and both the Moroccan and the Egyptian had criminal histories. The individuals had been housed at various detention facilities across the country and were staged at the Batavia, N.Y. Federal Detention Facility shortly before the flight. The flight departed Niagara Falls Airport on the afternoon of January 15 stopping in Lagos, Nigeria, Cairo, Egypt and Amman, Jordan.
The Canadian government also participated in the flight to remove 10 Nigerian deportees, 7 of whom were criminals. The flight was staffed with 20 DRO officers and 6 Canadian officers. 2 Nigerian Consular officers from their embassy in the U.S. and 1 Nigerian Consular from their embassy in Canada accompanied the flight.
"More than half of the individuals on this flight have criminal records in the United States. The ICE mission is to protect national security and public safety and this removal operation is an outstanding example of how we accomplish that mission," said Charles Mule', acting field office director for ICE detention and removal operations in Buffalo. "All of the individuals removed had due process through America's criminal and immigration courts and the foreign governments worked closely with ICE to make the return to their home countries possible."
In fiscal year 2007, ICE removed more than 278,000 aliens from the country including over 41,000 who returned voluntarily to their country of nationality, a record for the agency. More than 91,000 had criminal histories.
ICE manages alien transportation and repatriation flights via government-leased and chartered aircraft, and is also the largest user of the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS). JPATS is a shared program between ICE, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Prisons, that is used to affect the majority of the ICE removals, particularly to Central America and the Caribbean basin.