More than 240 criminal immigrants are in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials following a four-day dragnet targeting public safety threats.
According to ICE, the Los Angeles area sweep resulted in the arrests of 244 foreign nationals with prior criminal convictions.
The four-day enforcement action took place last week. Fifty-six percent of the arrestees had serious and/or violent felony convictions including sex crimes against children, weapons charges, and drug convictions. The remaining 44 percent had “significant or multiple misdemeanors.”
Four of the criminal immigrants had been previously deported and illegally reentered the U.S., including a Mexican national convicted of “sexual abuse with force” in New York.
More than 78 percent of the criminal aliens taken into ICE custody, or 191, were from Mexico, however ICE notes that the arrested foreign nationals hail from 21 countries including Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Thailand, France and Ghana.
Most of the criminal aliens were located in Los Angeles County, which accounted for 99 arrests.
Orange County followed with 55 arrests, and then San Bernadino County with 43 arrests. Riverside County (24), Santa Barbara County (20) and San Luis Obispo County (3) brought up the rear.
“This operation exemplifies ICE’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing convicted criminals and public safety threats for apprehension and removal,” ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Los Angeles field director David Jennings said in a statement. “By taking these individuals off our streets and removing them from the country, we are making our communities safer for everyone.”
Among those apprehended by ICE are a 46-year old Guatemalan national who was sentenced to 10 years for sexually abusing two children and a 50-year old Salvadoran national convicted of child sex abuse.
The aliens arrested last week will either be prosecuted for outstanding crimes or processed for removal.
“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 explained in its release.
According to officials, all the arrested aliens meet the Obama administration’s “immigration enforcement priorities,” as in the crimes they committed were bad or plentiful enough to warrant immigration enforcement actions.