SEATTLE - In a chartered flight that originated here Tuesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) returned a total of 106 immigration violators to Indonesia and two other Southeast Asian nations, marking only the second time the agency has carried out a such a flight to Indonesia.
ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) coordinated the flight that returned 49 Filipinos, 44 Indonesians and 13 Cambodians to their respective countries. The group included 98 males and eight females. These individuals came into ICE custody from locations throughout the United States and were housed at various detention facilities across the country before being transported to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., shortly before the flight.
Forty-six of those removed had been convicted of criminal offenses while living in the United States. The convictions included felony drug trafficking and possession, child abuse, sex crimes, aggravated assault, weapons possession, identity theft, stalking and burglary.
"This year ICE expects to remove a record number of immigration violators from the country and charter flights like this are helping us to achieve those gains," said Jim Hayes, acting director of ICE detention and removal operations. "The United States welcomes law-abiding immigrants, but foreign nationals who violate our laws and commit crimes in our communities should be on notice that ICE is going to use all of the tools and resources at its disposal to find you and send you home."
ICE officers and medical staff with the Division of Immigration Health Services accompanied aliens on the flight along with consular officials from the destination countries.
ICE routinely uses special air charters to transport aliens who have removal orders. Staffed by DRO officers, these air charters enable the agency to repatriate large groups of deportees in an efficient, expeditious, and humane manner.
During the first 10 months of fiscal year 2008, ICE removed more than 235,000 individuals from the United States, including more than 74,000 who had criminal histories.