US Immigration News Brief: 1800 arrested in “fugitive sweeps”

Posted by admin on Jun 10th, 2008

On June 2, ICE announced that its eight fugitive operations teams in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area had arrested a total of 491 immigrants during a month-long operation in May. Out of the total 491 people arrested, 347 were what the agency calls fugitive aliens–people who have failed to comply with (and sometimes are unaware of) prior deportation orders, or who have been reentered the US after having been deported. ICE said 207 of these 347 “fugitives” also had criminal records. ICE officers arrested 76 other immigrants with criminal records and 68 other people the agency described as “immigration violators” (people present in the US without permission from the federal government).

In the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, ICE worked closely with federal, state and local agencies including the US Marshals Eastern District Regional Fugitive Task Force, New York State Police, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office and Suffolk County Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the US Secret Service. [ICE News Release 6/2/08]

A similar sweep began on May 5 in California, involving ICE fugitive operations teams based in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. In that three-week operation, ICE arrested 905 people, including 495 people who were on a target list of just over 1,500 “fugitives” ICE was seeking to arrest. The other 410 people arrested included some who had reentered the US after being deported, and others who were simply living in the US without permission. [New York Times 5/24/08]

In northern California, the ICE fugitive teams arrested 17 immigrants in the Canal area of San Rafael, in Marin County, in raids that began early on May 22. ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice said enforcement teams removed 16 men and one woman. The San Rafael Police Department did not participate in any of the arrests, said police spokesperson Margo Rohrbacher. She said the department was notified at 5 am that ICE agents would be attempting to serve federal deportation warrants in several areas of the city.

The raids in San Rafael began just two days after San Pedro Elementary School principal Kathryn Gibney testified at a congressional hearing on the continuing emotional and social trauma among her students caused by ICE raids carried out in the same area in March 2007, when 65 Canal residents were arrested over three days [see INB 3/18/07]. Gibney told the Workforce Protections Subcommittee that she is still seeing rising absenteeism and falling test scores as a result of last year’s raids. [Marin Independent-Journal 5/22/08]

In a four-day operation in Texas beginning May 18, agents from five ICE fugitive operations teams based in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio arrested 84 immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio and Austin. Those arrested were from El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua, Kenya, Guatemala and Honduras; 56 of them had been issued final orders of deportation, while 28 were simply present in the US without permission. [ICE News Release 5/23/08]

In a four-day operation May 6-9, ICE agents arrested 89 immigrants in a sweep targeting people who had failed to comply with deportation orders in the Houston Field Office’s area of responsibility, which extends across over 52 counties from Louisiana to Corpus Christi, Texas. A dozen “fugitive operations” teams with 60 agents from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and El Paso, carried out the operation. Of the 89 people arrested, 28 had criminal convictions. It was not clear how many of those arrested had prior deportation orders, and how many were picked up for simply lacking immigration status. ICE had hoped to arrest “hundreds” of people with prior deportation orders, whom the agency refers to as fugitives. “Well, we always hope for more, but we don’t always get everybody we’re looking for,” said Kenneth Landgrebe, the ICE Field Office director for Detention and Removal in Houston. [Houston Chronicle 5/11/08]

In eastern Tennessee, ICE arrested 48 of the 280 “fugitives” it was seeking in sweeps over the weekend of May 17-18. Agents from fugitive operation teams based in New Orleans (Louisiana), Memphis (Tennessee), Atlanta (Georgia) and Charlotte (North Carolina) arrested 22 people in Chattanooga; the others were arrested in Knoxville and surrounding rural counties. [Chattanooga Times Free Press 5/22/08]

The sweeps were part of a six-state enforcement effort in which ICE fugitive operations teams arrested 1,808 immigrants–1,069 of them “fugitives”–in California, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Texas and Tennessee. [ICE News Release 6/2/08]

Over the week ending May 16, agents from ICE’s fugitive operations team in Phoenix, Arizona, worked with partners from the US Marshal’s Service and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to arrest 39 immigrants in the Phoenix area. Of the total, 21 were “fugitives”; seven had “criminal histories.” [ICE News Release 5/16/08]

ICE also carried out home raids looking for “fugitives” in Reno and Sparks, Nevada, May 28-30. Agents arrested at least two people, both of whom had prior removal orders. [Reno Gazette-Journal 5/31/08]

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