KALAMAZOO, Mich. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers arrested 16 individuals for violating federal immigration laws in western Michigan during a four-day targeted enforcement operation that ended Thursday. Nine of the immigration violators arrested during the operation were convicted criminals.
Two individuals illegally re-entered the country after deportation. Depending on the alien’s criminal history, an alien who illegally reenters the United States, after having been previously removed, has committed a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.
Fourteen men and two women were arrested during the enforcement actions. With the exception of a Congolese man, all of those arrested were nationals of Mexico. Enforcement activities took place primarily in Berrien, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties.
Criminal convictions of those arrested include but are not limited to domestic violence, DUI, operating while intoxicated, illegal entry, aggravated assault, assault and battery and carrying a concealed weapon.
The arrests include:
- A 19-year-old male Mexican national with a prior conviction for carrying a concealed weapon.
- A 46-year-old male national of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with convictions for aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and other charges.
- A 36-year-old male Mexican national with convictions for assault and battery, aggravated assault, and other offenses.
- A 56-year-old female Mexican national with a federal conviction for illegal entry. She is facing federal re-entry after deportation charges.
All four remain in agency custody.
The arrestees who are not being federally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. Those who have outstanding orders of removal, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.
ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. However, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that arrest aliens indiscriminately.
Editor’s Note: The arrest statistics provided in this news release represent preliminary data that has been manually reported to ICE headquarters.