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March 25, 2024Philadelphia, PA, United StatesHuman Rights Violators

ICE removes Salvadoran national wanted for death-squad killings during El Salvador’s civil war

PHILADELPHIA — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Philadelphia removed Angel Anibal Alvarado Benitez, a citizen of El Salvador with a final order of removal, on March 22. Alvarado Benitez, 75, is wanted by law enforcement authorities in El Salvador for murder and other crimes.

Alvarado Benitez, who is wanted in his native country for his role in death-squad killings during the civil war in El Salvador, was turned over by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) ERO Philadelphia to law enforcement authorities in El Salvador. Members of the death squad are accused of kidnapping, torturing and murdering five civilians in the village of San Andres in eastern El Salvador in April 1981.

“The removal of Angel Anibal Alvarado Benitez is a triumph of cooperation between ERO Philadelphia, ERO Baltimore, HSI Baltimore, HSI San Salvador and ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center,” said ERO Philadelphia Field Office Director Cammilla Wamsley. “It is our sincere hope that his return to face charges will help to bring some justice to the people of El Salvador for the atrocities suffered during their civil war.”

The agency’s efforts to investigate and ultimately return Alvarado Benitez to Salvadoran authorities were initiated and supported by HSI’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC) with the assistance of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) attaché in San Salvador. Established in 2008 to further ICE’s efforts to identify, track and prosecute human rights abusers, the HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a group of agents, historians, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.

In June 2023, HSI and ERO in Baltimore administratively arrested Alvarado Benitez and served him with a notice to appear in immigration court for being present in the United States without inspection. ERO Baltimore transferred him to ERO Philadelphia at the Moshannon Valley Processing Center in Philipsburg for removal proceedings. The case was litigated by the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor in Baltimore and resulted in an order of removal to El Salvador by an immigration judge. On Feb. 9, 2024, Alvarado Benitez’s order of removal became administratively final.

ERO conducts removals of individuals without a lawful basis to remain in the United States, including at the order of immigration judges with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is a separate entity from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE. Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case, determining if a noncitizen is subject to a final order of removal or eligible for certain forms of relief from removal.

As one of ICE’s three operational directorates, ERO is the principal federal law enforcement authority in charge of domestic immigration enforcement. ERO’s mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of those who undermine the safety of U.S. communities and the integrity of U.S. immigration laws, and its primary areas of focus are interior enforcement operations, management of the agency’s detained and non-detained populations, and repatriation of noncitizens who have received final orders of removal. ERO’s workforce consists of more than 7,700 law enforcement and non-law enforcement support personnel across 25 domestic field offices and 208 locations nationwide, 30 overseas postings, and multiple temporary duty travel assignments along the border. Members of the public can report crimes or suspicious activity by calling 866-347-2423 or completing ICE’s online tip form.

Learn more about ERO’s mission to increase public safety in your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, @EROPhiladelphia.