"This enforcement action highlights our dedication to improving public safety by targeting criminal aliens who have no right to be in Arizona victimizing our communities," said Katrina S. Kane, field office director of ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Arizona. "Because of the hard work and focus of ICE officers and agents in Arizona tracking down at large criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 56 fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods across the state."
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 ERO's 24 field offices, as well as coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement partners throughout the United States. Arrests occurred in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.
In Arizona, the majority of arrests occurred in the Phoenix metropolitan area, where 46 convicted criminal illegal immigrants were arrested. Seven arrests were made in Tucson, with the remaining arrests occurring in Sierra Vista and Rio Rico.
Of the individuals taken into custody in Arizona, 38 had prior criminal convictions for serious felonies, including aggravated assault, child abuse and drug trafficking. Officers also arrested two documented gang members and three immigration fugitives.
Nationally, all of the 2,901 individuals taken into custody had prior criminal convictions including at least 1,282 illegal immigrants who had multiple criminal convictions. Of the total 2,901 criminal illegal immigrants arrested, 42 were gang members and 151 were convicted sex offenders.
The arrestees include:
· A 33-year-old man from Mexico arrested in Phoenix and convicted of child abuse.
· A 19-year-old man from Mexico arrested at his residence in Phoenix who is a documented gang member convicted of disorderly conduct.
· A 30-year-old man from Mexico arrested at his residence in Phoenix convicted of three counts of possession of drugs for sale.
· A 26-year-old woman from Mexico arrested in Tucson and convicted of two counts of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
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 illegal immigrants nationwide who have illegally re-entered the United States after removal.
Last week's enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP), which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal illegal immigrants and immigration fugitives. The officers who conducted last week's operation received substantial assistance from ICE's Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC) and ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) both located in Williston, Vermont.
ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal illegal immigrants who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security. ICE also prioritizes the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system including immigration fugitives or those criminal illegal immigrants who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.