United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says officers from its Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) have arrested a number of Caribbean nationals among 76 criminal immigrants in Florida and Puerto Rico in what it said was an enforcement action targeting individuals who pose a threat to public safety.
ICE said on Wednesday that those arrested were from the Bahamas, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, South Africa, St. Kitts, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Of those arrested by ICE during the enforcement action, which was conducted from April 18-21, 57 had criminal records that included felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as lewd and lascivious behavior; sexual battery; child sex crimes; sex offenses; aggravated assault with deadly weapon; weapons charges; and drug violations.
Additionally, ICE said 19 had less serious or violent violations to include larceny, petty theft, trespass, driving under the influence, fraud and driving with no driver’s license.
“ICE is committed to making our communities safer by removing threats to our public safety,” said Marc J. Moore, Field Office Director for the Miami Field Office of ERO, which oversees all of Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. “Communities across Florida and Puerto Rico are safer today because of the hard work of our ERO officers.”
ICE said 13 of those detained during the action are previously removed individuals who may be prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for felony re-entry after deportation.
ICE said the arrests were made in the Florida counties of: Broward (16), Collier (2), Duval (4), Hillsborough (4), Martin (20), Miami Dade (16), Orange (11), and municipalities in Puerto Rico (3).
On April 18, ICE said ERO officers arrested a Jamaican citizen in Oakland Park, who is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
In 2002, ICE said the unidentified Jamaican national was convicted of attempted sexual battery on a minor.
“The subject is currently pending a removal hearing by an immigration judge,” ICE said.
On April 19, ICE said ERO officers arrested a Haitian citizen in the West Palm Beach area.
It said the Haitian was previously convicted in 2001 for attempted sexual battery, and burglary of a dwelling.
The Haitian has had an Immigration Removal Order since 2015, ICE said.
On April 20, ICE said ERO officers arrested a Bahamian citizen in Miami, who has been a lawful permanent resident since 1983.
“The subject has convictions from 1995 for sexual assault, burglary, robbery, kidnapping an adult, and was registered as a sex offender,” ICE said. “The subject is currently pending removal proceedings before an immigration judge.”
ICE said arrested individuals who have outstanding orders of deportation, 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 said, adding that “all of the targets in this operation were amenable to arrest and removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
In fiscal year 2016, ICE said it conducted 240,255 removals nationwide.
Ninety-two percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a crime, ICE said.