PRESS RELEASE: NEARLY 100 CRIMINAL ILLEGAL ALIENS TAKEN OFF THE STREETS OF HOUSTON!

As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) ongoing commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, the agency announced today the results of a six-day national “Cross Check” enforcement operation-which led to the arrest of more than 3,100 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and immigration violators. Houston Field Office arrested 94 during this national operation.

“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE’s ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation’s immigration system,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 3,168 fewer criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators in our neighborhoods across the country.”

This six-day operation, the largest of its kind, involved the collaboration of more than 1,900 ICE officers and agents from all of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations’ (ERO) 24 field offices, assistance from ICE Homeland Security Investigations as well as coordination with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners throughout the United States. Arrests occurred in all 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

ERO officers arrested 2,834 individuals that had prior criminal convictions including at least 1,063 aliens who had multiple criminal convictions. 1,477 of those arrested had felony convictions including murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, terroristic threats, drug trafficking, child abuse, battery on a child, sexual crimes against minors, and aggravated assault. Of the total 2,834 criminal aliens arrested, 50 were gang members and 149 were convicted sex offenders.

In addition to being convicted criminals, 698 of those arrested were also immigration fugitives who had previously been ordered to leave the country but failed to depart. Additionally, 559 were illegal re-entrants who had been previously removed from the country. Because of their serious criminal histories and prior immigration arrest records, at least 204 of those arrested during the enforcement action were presented to U.S attorneys for prosecution on a variety of charges including illegal re-entry after deportation, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Houston officers made a total of 94 arrests including: 74 in Houston, 11 in Beaumont, and 9 in College Station.

The arrestees include:

On Mar. 24, a 25 year-old, national of Mexico, residing in San Jacinto, Texas, a registered sex offender, convicted of sexual assault of a child.
On Mar. 25, a 39 year-old, national of El Salvador, residing in Houston, convicted of grand theft auto, engaging in organized activity.
On Mar. 26, a 38 year-old, national of Mexico, residing in Brazoria County, a registered sex offender, convicted of attempted sexual assault.
On Mar. 27, a 49 year-old, national of Mexico, residing in Houston, convicted of indecency with a child.
On Mar. 29, a 64 year-old, national of Honduras, residing in Galveston, convicted of indecency with a child.

ICE conducted the first successful Cross Check operation in December 2009, and has since conducted seven regional and two national Cross Check operations resulting in the arrest of more than 7,400 convicted criminal aliens. This operation is the third nationwide Cross Check operation in the agency’s history. The first nationwide Cross Check operation occurred at the end of May 2011 and resulted in the arrest of 2,442 convicted criminal aliens. The last Cross Check operation in September 2011 resulted in the arrest of 2,901 convicted criminal aliens.

Last week’s enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE’s National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP), which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives. The officers who conducted last week’s operation received substantial assistance from ICE’s Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC), ICE’s Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) and the Criminal Alien Program.

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.