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Enforcement and Removal

ICE removes more than 5,000 illegal aliens statewide in 2008

Deportations in 2008 increases 49% from first 6 months of last year

MIAMI, Fla. - Five-thousand eight-hundred and eighty-nine illegal aliens - including convicted felons and immigration fugitives - were deported in 2008 to their respective countries of origin by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention and removal officers.

Convicted felons, fugitives, and immigration violators living in various cities throughout Florida were among the 5,889 individuals deported by ICE officers during a six-month period. From Jan. 2007 through June 2007, ICE deported 3,942 illegal aliens. This year from Jan. 2008 through June 2008, ICE deported 5,889 illegal aliens.

The removals were made by ICE detention and removal officers in Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Stuart, Tallahassee, San Juan and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas. The removals are part of ICE's ongoing efforts to identify and arrest those who pose a threat to our community and who have no legal right to remain in the country.

Among the deported last month was Felix Corporan-Cuevas, 52, a citizen and national of the Dominican Republic convicted Feb.1997 for aiding and abetting with others to conspire to take hostages and kidnapping. Corporan was admitted into the United States as a lawful permanent resident in Miami, Florida on April 19, 1980. Corporan was identified through the Tampa Criminal Alien Program and placed in ICE custody after the completion of his criminal sentence of 220 months in prison.

The offenses of the 1,251 criminal aliens removed include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, fraud, kidnapping, money laundering, sex offenses, murder, incest with minor, and numerous drug charges.

Those deported represent numerous countries including Antigua, Brazil, Colombia, China, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, and the Philippines.

"Criminal aliens have a very high rate of recidivism and often victimize the community in which they live," said Michael Rozos, field office director for the office of detention and removal in Florida. "ICE is improving public safety by enhancing partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, detain, and remove all criminal aliens held in custody. We will continue to remove from our country individuals that have tarnished the integrity of our immigration system including illegal aliens who have committed egregious offenses against our citizens."

ICE attributes part of the success in identifying, detaining, and removing criminal aliens amenable for removal as a result of various factors which include law enforcement partnerships, its Fugitive Operations Teams, and its Criminal Alien Program (CAP), which focuses on targeting criminal aliens in federal, state, and local custody.

ICE's CAP Program was implemented in June 2007 to address the criminal alien problem at federal, state, and local jails and prisons. The ICE office of Detention and Removal (DRO) oversees the program and DRO officers work with federal, state, and local jails to identify foreign born inmates who pose the greatest threat to the community if released. CAP also works closely with the United States Attorney's Office to aggressively prosecute criminal aliens who have reentered the United States after having been previously removed thereby creating a deterrent to illegal reentry by previously removed criminal aliens.

As part of the CAP, most recently on July 1, DRO officers identified Nico Sonnenbrodt, a German national in custody at the Orange County Jail, as being in the country illegally. Sonnenbrodt has been charged with making a bomb threat against Walt Disney World. DRO officers determined that he entered the United States on June 20, 2007 with a Q1 non-immigrant visa and overstayed his visa. Upon completion of the local charges and any relating sentence, he will be placed in ICE custody to face removal proceedings.

The ICE Fugitives Operation Teams locate and detain illegal aliens who have ignored their final orders of deportation. Today, ICE has 75 teams deployed across the country and an additional 29 teams will be added by the end of September. Locally, the ICE Florida field office has seven operational teams and two additional teams will be deployed within the next month.

The ICE Miami Fugitive Operations Team arrested fugitive alien Robinson Wladimir Gonzalez-Mesias, 54, a Chilean national convicted for sodomy and aggravated sexual battery on June 14, 1985 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He has since been in ICE custody pending imminent removal to his native country of Chile for being in violation of immigration law.

Criminal aliens are non-citizens who have committed felonies or other crimes that make them ineligible to remain in the United States in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Additionally, criminal aliens who are potentially removable include lawful permanent residents (such as holders of a U.S. Permanent Resident Card) who are convicted of a removable offense as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The plan brings together the expertise and commitment from all parts of ICE, the interagency community, and state and local law enforcement agencies. ICE's partners within DHS include U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) Program. ICE's federal interagency partners include the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), U.S. Attorneys, Department of State (DOS), Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Marshal Service (USMS), and FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS). Ongoing success will require enhancements to the nation's immigration strategy and providing even greater disincentives for recidivists.