Immigration officers arrested nearly 150 criminal aliens, previously deported illegal immigrants, and foreign nationals subject to an order of removal during a seven-day targeted operation in Central and South Texas. The operation took place in Texas cities from Waco and southward to the Rio Grande Valley.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers began a targeted operation on February 10 in Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, Waco, and border communities in the Rio Grande Valley. The officers arrested 145 individuals, mostly illegal immigrants with criminal records, previous deportations, and orders of removal from a judge, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by ICE officials.
Of those arrested, 86 had previous criminal convictions; 39 had previous immigration violations including four with pending criminal charges; 20 with no previous immigration history; and one with pending criminal charges, officials stated. Officers arrested 135 men and 10 women during the seven-day operation that ended on February 16. They ranged in age from 18 to 62.
ICE spokesperson Adelina Pruneda provided the following examples of the types of people arrested:
- Feb. 14 – A previously deported 42-year-old illegal alien from Mexico was arrested in Harlingen, Texas. He was convicted in 2011 of indecency with a child, a felony, and was sentenced to 10 years’ probation. He is currently facing federal criminal charges for illegally re-entering the United States after having been deported. He remains in U.S. Marshals custody pending the outcome of his criminal case.
- Feb. 15 – A 42- year-old illegal alien from Mexico was arrested in San Antonio. He was convicted in 2008 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to four months in federal prison. In October 2017, he was convicted for DUI and sentenced to 15 months in prison. He is currently in ICE custody pending removal.
- Feb. 13 – A previously deported 40-year-old illegal alien from Mexico was arrested in San Antonio. He was previously removed to Mexico in 2009 after he illegally entered the United States through Laredo, Texas. Sometime after 2009, he illegally re-entered the United States and was arrested at his residence where officers discovered six handguns in his possession. He is being prosecuted for re-entry after deportation, and illegal alien possessing a firearm. He remains in U.S. Marshals custody pending the outcome of his criminal case.
“The results of this operation are a clear indication of ICE’s commitment regarding the role we play in keeping our communities safe by locating, arresting and ultimately removing at-large criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety, and other immigration fugitives,” San Antonio ERO Field Office Director, Daniel Bible said in a written statement. “ICE’s leadership has made clear that ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and – if found removable by final order – removal from the United States. By effecting these immigration enforcement operations, the dedicated men and women of ICE help keep our communities safe.”
Officials noted that 61 of those arrested had been previously deported by immigration officers and illegally re-entered the U.S. The federal charge of illegal re-entry after removal can lead to a prison sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.
Some of the crimes committed include indecency with a child, assault, deadly conduct, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, drug possession, drug trafficking, burglary, resisting arrest, firearms offenses, alien smuggling, illegally entering the U.S., and driving under the influence (DUI).
Mexico (128) led the list of countries of origin for the illegal immigrants arrested in the operation. Guatemala followed with seven, Honduras with seven, and El Salvador, Peru, and Jordan with one each.
ICE ERO officers routinely conduct targeted operations against criminal foreign nationals, previously deported illegal aliens, and fugitives with orders of removal. Occasionally, other illegal immigrants are encountered during these operations, officials stated. When that happens, they are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. This evaluation sometimes results in arrest and removal.