Nearly 75 percent of the more than 41,000 individuals who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers between January 22 and April 29 are convicted criminals, with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges, ICE revealed in newly released statistics. This reflects an increase of 37.6 percent over the same period last year.
The arrest of convicted criminal aliens climbed nearly 20 percent, from 25,786 last year to 30,473 this year. Violent crimes such as homicide, rape, kidnapping and assault accounted for more than 2,700 convictions.
Out of the series of routine targeted enforcement operations across the nation by ICE beginning Monday, February 6 in the Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, New York and San Antonio areas of responsibility that resulted in more than 680 arrests of convicted criminal aliens and other immigration enforcement priorities, 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.
For more on the the thousands of criminal illegal aliens arrested by ICE, read Homeland Security Today’s previous reporting.
ICE’s announcement follows ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation’s arrests of 1,095 confirmed gang members and associates.
ICE ERO deportation officers administratively arrested 41,318 individuals on civil immigration charges. Between January 24 and April 30, 2016, ERO arrested 30,028.
“These statistics reflect President Trump’s commitment to enforce our immigration laws fairly and across the board,” said ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan. “ICE agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the arrest of convicted criminal aliens. However, when we encounter others who are in the country unlawfully, we will execute our sworn duty and enforce the law. As the data demonstrates, ICE continues to execute ourmission professionally and in accordance with the law, and our communities will be much safer for it.”
ICE reported that, “The arrest of aliens at-large in the community increased by more than 50 percent, from 8,381 last year to 12,766 arrests this year during the same period.”
“In total,” ICE said, “since the President signed [enhanced] Executive Orders, ICE’s immigration enforcement activity has resulted in more than 400 arrests per day, including the capture of egregious and violent offenders, such as:
- The February 16 arrest in New York City of an MS-13 gang member, Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez, a Salvadoran national with a criminal history in the US which includes reckless endangerment in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and disorderly conduct.
- The March 9 arrest in DeKalb, Georgia, of Jose Mercedes Meza-Ignacio, 52, a citizen of Mexico residing in Atlanta, wanted on criminal charges for child molestation.
- The April 10 arrest in Dallas, Texas, of Juan Antonio Melchor Molina by the agency’s Dallas Fugitive Operations Team. Molina is the subject of a 2011 murder warrant issued by the Prosecutor General’s Office in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Mexican authorities allege Molina shot and killed Jorge Alejandro De La Rosa at a wedding in 2008.
- The April 13 arrest in Denver, Colorado, of Jose Victor Bonilla-Melendez, one of ICE’s “Most Wanted Fugitives,” in Denver, Colorado, following a public tip. Bonilla-Melendez is also known as Anthony Garcia-Melendez, a citizen of Honduras whose criminal history includes felony convictions for assault causing serious bodily injury, sexual assault and unlawful re-entry after deportation.
- The April 26 arrest in Houston, Texas, of William Magana-Contreras, a Salvadoran MS-13 gang member wanted for aggravated homicide in his home country.
“While these data clearly reflect the fact that convicted criminals are an immigration enforcement priority, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has made it clear that ICE will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the country illegally,” ICE stated. “This is evident by the rise in non-criminal arrests over the same period, which increased from approximately 4,200 in 2016 to more than 10,800 in 2017."
“All of those arrested will receive the due process afforded to them under the law. ICE will take action to remove individuals subject to a final order by a federal immigration judge. We are a nation of laws, and ignoring orders issued by federal judges undermines our constitutional government,” Homan said.
In contrast to ICE’s recently released statistics on criminal aliens, Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said, “Secretary Kelly and ICE Director Thomas Homan claim they are targeting serious criminals when it is clear that they are targeting hard working immigrant families who are deeply rooted in America, most of whom are nowhere near a common sense definition of ‘serious criminal.’”
Sharry said, “Kelly apparently thinks any violation of the law, no matter how minor or innocent, should lead to deportation banishment from one’s home and loved ones. Driving without a license is used as a pretext for deportation. Re-entering the US to be with family is treated as a major crime. Using a fake document to get a job is called ‘criminal.’ We’re not talking about dangers to the public, we’re talking about people trying to work or rejoin their families.”
“These guys spin, distort, exaggerate and dissemble almost as much as the President they work for,” Sharry said, saying, “The false claims are aimed at providing cover for an agenda that calls for the deportation of millions. Instead of targeting serious criminals, they are targeting every immigrant they can get their hands on and calling all of them criminals.”
Continuing, he said, “Every responsible and well-led law enforcement agency in the nation prioritizes the use of resources, targets truly bad actors and engages in public relations. ICE has the public relations bit down, but as a law enforcement agency, it is far from responsible and well-led.”