NEWARK, NJ - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed 77 Nigerian nationals to Lagos, Nigeria, and six Albanian nationals to Tirana, Albania, on June 4, 2008. The majority of those removed had criminal histories and convictions in the United States, including sex crimes, felony drug possession and trafficking, fraud, and assault with a deadly weapon.
The flight, contracted by the Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Flight Operations Unit, carried a total of 83 individuals ordered removed from the United States by immigration courts. Those removed had been held at various detention facilities around the country, and were staged at the Batavia, N.Y., Federal Detention Facility shortly before the flight, which departed from Niagara Falls International Airport.
"The mission of the ICE Office of Detention and Removal is to protect national security and public safety by removing foreign nationals with criminal records from the country," said Charles Mule, acting Field Office Director for ICE detention and removal operations in Buffalo. "ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of criminal aliens who victimize innocent people, and as a result, our communities are safer and more secure."
In fiscal year 2007, ICE removed more than 284,000 aliens from the country including over 41,000 who returned voluntarily to their country of nationality, a record for the agency. More than 93,000 had criminal histories. All of the individuals removed were provided due process through U.S. criminal and immigration courts and ICE worked closely with the foreign governments to make the return to their home countries possible.
ICE manages alien transportation and repatriation flights using government-leased and chartered aircraft. Among those removed on yesterday's flight were:
- A Nigerian man convicted of sexual assault of a child and robbery. In addition, he has convictions for multiple misdemeanor offenses.
- An Albanian national who is a multiple drug offender. He was convicted of possession with intent to sell a controlled substance and has a conviction for conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
- A Nigerian man convicted of fraud and conspiracy. Total losses incurred by his victims totaled nearly $1 million.