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February 26, 2008Chicago, IL, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

Local ICE Fugitive Operations Team arrests 30 in 4-day operation

11 teams in regional efforts make 225 arrests in six states

CHICAGO - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Tuesday that its local teams of officers that track down fugitive aliens arrested 30 fugitive aliens with outstanding deportation orders as part of a four-day, six state operation that ended Monday.

"Fugitive aliens" are illegal aliens who fail to appear for their immigration hearings, or who abscond after having been ordered to leave the country by a federal immigration judge.

Eleven fugitive operations teams made 225 arrests in: Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri. In Chicago, four teams comprised of ICE officers and members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force fanned out across the city and surrounding areas and arrested 30 fugitive aliens, including 24 males and six females.

In addition to Chicago, the arrests took place in the following communities: Aurora, Buffalo Grove, Cicero, East Chicago, Glendale Heights, Griffith, Hammond, Melrose Park, Niles, Skokie and Tinley Park. Those arrested are from the following countries: Cuba, Guatemala, India, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Syria, Ukraine and Yugoslavia.

"Our teams working together across six states today sent a strong message to those who choose to disregard our nation's laws," said Julie L. Myers, Homeland Security Assistance Secretary for ICE. "If you ignore a judge's order of removal, ICE will find you, arrest you, and you will be returned to your home country."

ICE has established 75 Fugitive Operations Teams nationwide that are specially trained and dedicated solely to identifying, locating and arresting aliens who have absconded after receiving deportation orders. The increased FY 2008 budget allocates funds for the implementation of an additional 29 teams nationally.

Following are examples of fugitives arrested by the Fugitive Operations Teams during this Chicago operation:

  • Guadalupe Aragon-Juarez, a 41-year-old Mexican national, was arrested Feb. 23 at his Chicago residence. Aragon-Juarez is presently in ICE custody, but will be transferred to Cook County custody to face felony charges for unlawfully using a weapon, possessing a controlled substance, and aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon. Aragon-Juarez has an extensive criminal record that includes convictions for drunken driving and possessing cocaine. He lost his U.S. permanent resident status in September 2004 due to his criminal convictions. He became an immigration fugitive when he failed to comply with an April 2005 order instructing him to surrender for deportation.
  • ICE officers arrested Carlos Espinoza-Delgado, aka Carlos Gonzalez, Feb. 23 at his Aurora residence. Espinoza, a 32-year-old Mexican national, was extradited to the custody of the DuPage County Sheriff on an outstanding warrant for an arrest of battery/bodily harm in September 1995. In July 1999, ICE placed Espinoza into deportation proceedings for entering the U.S. illegally. In July 2000 a federal immigration judge issued Espinoza a deportation order. He became an immigration fugitive when he failed to comply with an order instructing him to surrender for deportation.
  • Oscar Gutierrez, a 38-year-old Mexican national, was arrested by ICE at his Chicago residence on Feb. 23. Gutierrez' criminal history includes convictions in the State of Michigan for domestic violence and felony offense of a credit card. Based on his criminal convictions, Gutierrez was placed into removal proceedings. In October 2007 he lost his U.S. permanent resident status when an immigration judge ordered him deported to Mexico.

The Fugitive Operations Teams' success is also attributed to the fact ICE has expanded partnerships with local law enforcement agencies across the country and the newly created Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC) in Vermont, which aids in gathering and analyzing information on fugitive cases across the country. This center was opened last year and has since disseminated more than 150,000 case leads to ICE agents.

ICE established its Fugitive Operations Program in 2003 to eliminate the nation's backlog of immigration fugitives and ensure that deportation orders handed down by immigration judges are enforced. The teams prioritize cases involving immigration violators who pose a threat to national security and community safety. These include child sexual exploiters, suspected gang members and those who have convictions for any violent crimes.

Nationwide, ICE Fugitive Operations Teams have arrested more than 72,000 illegal aliens since the first teams were created. There are approximately 585,000 fugitive aliens in ICE's databases; but our targeted enforcement strategy is paying off. Last year, the nation's fugitive alien population declined for the first time in history and continues to do so - in large part due to the work of the Fugitive Operations Teams.

ICE's Fugitive Operations Program is an integral part of the comprehensive multi-year plan launched by the Department of Homeland Security to secure America's borders and reduce illegal migration. That strategy seeks to gain operational control of both the northern and southern borders, while re-engineering the detention and removal system to ensure that illegal aliens are removed from the country quickly and efficiently.