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BOSTON — During a three-day targeted enforcement operation in and around Boston that ended late last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrested 39 convicted criminal aliens.
The "Threats Against the Community" operation commenced Aug. 7, 2012. All 39 taken into custody had prior criminal convictions, including 35 aliens who had multiple criminal convictions. Additionally, 20 of those arrested had felony convictions. Many of the criminal aliens taken into custody had prior convictions for serious or violent crimes including: assault; assault and battery; assault with a dangerous weapon; assault and battery on a police officer; sexual assault; possessing and selling dangerous drugs; and drunken driving. One of the individuals arrested during this operation was a convicted sex offender.
"The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE's ongoing commitment to public safety," said Dorothy Herrera-Niles, field office director of ICE ERO Boston. "When we focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens we get an immediate payback in our communities. Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers — along with our state and local law enforcement partners — there are 39 fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods in Massachusetts."
The Revere Police Department headquarters served as the field command center during the three-day enforcement activity. The arrests took place in the following Massachusetts locations: Boston, Chelsea, East Boston, Everett, Lynn, New Bedford, Revere, Somerville and Woburn. The Boston, Lynn and Revere Police Departments — along with the Suffolk and Plymouth County Sheriff's Office — assisted over 40 ICE ERO officers with these arrests.
Of those arrested, there were 37 men and 2 women. The 39 are nationals of the following countries: four from Brazil, two from Cape Verde, one from Colombia, six from the Dominican Republic, six from El Salvador, three from Guatemala, five from Honduras, one from Iraq, one from Jamaica, one from Lebanon, one from Liberia, four from Mexico, two from Peru, one from Portugal and one from Sudan. They range in age from 18 to 52.
All 39 were administratively arrested for being in violation of U.S. immigration law. Thirty-six are being held in ICE custody pending immigration removal proceedings or removal from the United States; and two are presently in the custody of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with an immigration detainer hold. One was released on an order of supervision.
Some of those arrested during this operation include:
"This operation, and our daily targeting of aliens with criminal convictions, are some of the many tools that ICE uses to effectively reduce crime at the street level in communities throughout New England" added Herrera-Niles.
This enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's National Criminal Alien Program, which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens. The officers who conducted the operation received substantial assistance from ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) located in Williston, Vt.
ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens 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 aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.
Largely as a result of these initiatives, for three years in a row, ICE has removed more aliens than were removed in fiscal year 2008. Overall, in FY 2011 ICE ERO removed 396,906 individuals nationwide — the largest number in the agency's history. Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors — an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence. ICE achieved similar results with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. Ninety percent of all ICE's removals fell into a priority category and more than two-thirds of the other removals in 2011 were either recent border crossers or repeat immigration violators.