Arrests carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents late last week landed 51 criminal aliens in jail facing deportation.
Among the 51 criminal aliens rounded up by ICE agents on Thursday and Friday were 16 convicted criminals. Those included a Mexican national previously deported following a conviction of aggravated assault; a Salvadoran national who pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a child; and another Mexican national convicted of domestic violence as a repeat offender, information obtained by Breitbart Texas from ICE officials revealed. The arrests were carried out in the Austin area by agents assigned to the San Antonio Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO) office.
Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly confirmed that more than 600 individuals were arrested during the nationwide operation that focused on ICE offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, and New York City.
“Of those arrested, approximately 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges,” Secretary Kelly stated.
“President Trump has been clear in affirming the critical mission of DHS in protecting the nation and directed our Department to focus on removing illegal aliens who have violated our immigration laws, with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety, have been charged with criminal offenses, have committed immigration violations or have been deported and re-entered the country illegally,” the secretary explained.
ICE officials repeated statements made over the weekend that this was a focused effort–similar to operations carried out last year where more than 2,000 criminal aliens were arrested during Operation Cross Check.
“These are existing, established fugitive operations teams,” the officials wrote. “ICE does not conduct sweeps, checkpoints or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”
“These are existing, established fugitive operations teams,” the statement continued. “ICE does not conduct sweeps, checkpoints or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”
Many of the arrested aliens will face prosecution for illegal reentry after removal, a felony offense. Those not facing new charges will be processed for removal unless an order of removal has already been put in place by an immigration judge.
Officials stated it is not uncommon, during an operation like this, that other illegal immigrants will come into contact with ICE agents making other arrests. In those cases, the individual’s circumstances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
ICE officials would not confirm if any of the 51 criminal aliens arrested in the Austin area had been released by Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez under her new sanctuary policies.
One ICE agent was injured while making an arrest on Friday, Breitbart Texas reported. The agent was injured following an altercation that erupted when family members attempted to intervene in the arrest of a criminal alien suspect. The immigration official had apparently pulled over the suspect’s vehicle and was attempting to make an arrest on an immigration charge.
“I commend the heroic efforts of the dedicated officers of ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations and those who provided assistance from ICE Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Marshals Service, as well as cooperating state and local law enforcement agencies,” Secretary Kelly concluded. “These professionals put their lives on the line to protect our communities and country. There is no greater calling than to serve and protect our nation – a mission that the men and women of ICE perform with professionalism and courage every single day.”