As part of the Obama administration’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) yesterday announced the results of a seven-day national “Cross Check” enforcement operation-which led to the arrest of more than 2,900 convicted criminal aliens.
“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE’s ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation’s immigration system,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down at large criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 2,901 fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods across the country.”
This seven-day operation, the largest of its kind, involved the collaboration of more than 1,900 ICE officers and agents from all of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations’ (ERO) 24 field offices, as well as coordination with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners throughout the United States. Arrests occurred in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.
All of the 2,901 individuals taken into custody had prior criminal convictions including at least 1,282 aliens who had multiple criminal convictions. More than 1,600 of those arrested had felony convictions including manslaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, drug trafficking, child abuse, sexual crimes against minors, and aggravated assault. Of the total 2,901 criminal aliens arrested, 42 were gang members and 151 were convicted sex offenders.
In addition to being convicted criminals, 681 of those arrested were also immigration fugitives who had previously been ordered to leave the country but failed to depart. Additionally, 386 were illegal re-entrants who had been previously removed from the country multiple times. Because of their serious criminal histories and prior immigration arrest records, at least 146 of those arrested during the enforcement action were presented to U.S attorneys for prosecution on a variety of charges including illegal re-entry after deportation, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
ICE conducted the first successful Cross Check operation in December 2009, and has since conducted Cross Check operations in 37 states, including regional operations in the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest regions. In May, ICE conducted the first nationwide Cross Check operation. These previous Cross Check operations resulted in ICE arresting 4,506 convicted criminals, fugitives and aliens nationwide who have illegally re-entered the United States after removal.