ALEXANDRIA, La. — A Pakistani national sentenced to three years in federal prison for providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization was removed from the United States Wednesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Zahid Yousaf, 45, pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization in federal court in September 2011. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia subsequently sentenced Yousaf to 36 months in federal prison in December 2011 and ordered him removed from the country following the completion of his sentence. ICE took Yousaf into immigration custody Oct. 22, 2013, following his release from prison.
ERO officers removed Yousaf from the United States to Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday via commercial aircraft that departed Alexandria International Airport. Upon arrival in Pakistan Friday, ERO officers transferred Yousaf into local law enforcement custody.
"ICE will continue to focus its enforcement operations on identifying, arresting and removing dangerous criminals who pose the greatest risk to our communities," said ERO New Orleans Acting Field Office Director Michael W. Meade.
In fiscal year 2013, ICE conducted 368,644 removals nationwide. Nearly 60 percent of ICE's total removals had been previously convicted of a criminal offense; 82 percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a criminal offense.
In addition to convicted criminals, the agency's enforcement priorities include those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants – individuals who returned to the United States after being previously removed by ICE – and immigration fugitives. In fiscal year 2013, 98 percent of ICE removals met these priorities – a record high.