Jamaican national among 156 criminals, immigration violators nabbed in Chicago
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says officers with its Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) have arrested a Jamaican national among 156 criminals and immigration violators in the Chicago metropolitan area during a six-day enforcement action.
Besides the unidentified Jamaican national, ICE said immigrants arrested during the operation, dubbed “Operation Keep Safe,” are from Mexico (125), Guatemala (10), Poland (6), El Salvador (4), Honduras (4), Philippines (2), Ecuador (1), Jordan (1), Lithuania (1) and New Zealand (1).
During this operation, which ended on Thursday, ICE said ERO deportation officers made arrests in 37 communities.
Of the 156 arrested, ICE said 74 had criminal convictions; 147 men and nine women were arrested, ranging in age from 19 to 64 years old.
ICE said most of the immigrants arrested by ERO deportation officers during the operation had prior criminal histories that included convictions for battery, commercial sex, criminal trespass (vehicle), dangerous drugs, domestic violence, driving under influence, drug trafficking, felony burglary, homicide, illegal entry, indecency/sex conduct, larceny, obstructing justice, possessing cocaine, possessing controlled substance, possessing marijuana, reckless discharge of a weapon, retail theft, sexual assault, solicitation of a sex act, traffic offense and trespassing.
Fourteen of those arrested were immigration fugitives who have final orders of removal, said ICE officials, who added that 36 others illegally re-entered the United States after having been previously deported, “which is a felony.
“Depending on an alien’s criminality, an alien who re-enters the United States after having been previously deported commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, if convicted,” ICE said.
ICE said the remaining 106 arrests were “at-large aliens who are illegally present in the United States.”
“ICE continues to face significant obstacles from dangerous policies created by local officials, which hinder cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement,” said Ricardo Wong, field office director for ERO Chicago.
“’Sanctuary cities’ not only provide refuge to illegal aliens, but they also protect criminal aliens who prey on people in their own communities,” he added. “This operation was a great success for all members of our communities. The Chicago area is safer today because of the hard work of the men and women of ERO.”
Wong said “all of the targets in this operation were amenable to arrest and removal under the US Immigration and Nationality Act.”
ICE said it focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to US national security, public safety and border security.
The immigration agency said it will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.
“All of those in violation of immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States,” it said.
ICE said some of the individuals arrested during this operation will face US federal criminal prosecutions for illegal entry and illegal re-entry after deportation.
It said the arrestees who are not being federally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States.
Those 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, ICE said.
It said the remaining individuals are in its custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.
In years past, ICE said most of these individuals would have been turned over to it by local authorities on their release from jail, based on ICE detainers.
“Now that many sanctuary cities, including Chicago, do not honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released to the street, which presents a significant and growing public-safety threat,” the statement said.
ICE said it places detainers on individuals who have been arrested on local criminal charges and who are suspected of being deportable, “so that ICE can take custody of that person when the person is released from local custody.
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission,” the statement stressed.
“ICE has no choice but to continue to conduct targeted at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which inevitably result in additional collateral arrests,” it added. “Such operations are much more dangerous for ICE officers, for the targeted aliens, and for bystanders.”