Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted a six-day sweep last week that it called a “Cross Check” enforcement operation. This is reportedly part of the agency’s prioritization, at the behest of the White House, of undocumented immigrants with extensive or violent criminal records, those deemed a threat to public safety or national security, and alleged repeat violators of immigration laws. The agency arrested 3,168 people nationwide, representing 116 nationalities. Officials described the people arrested as “criminal aliens,” “immigration fugitives,” “illegal re-entrants,” “sexual predators,” and “gang members.” This was ICE’s third “Cross Check” operation. A sweep in May 2011 resulted in 2,442 arrests, and another in September 2011 led to 2,901 arrests.
According to ICE, over 1,900 ICE agents from various offices within the agency participated in the sweep. All twenty-four field offices in the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) took part, along with various federal, state, and local “law enforcement partners.” In addition to all fifty states, agents made arrests in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. ICE states that 2,834 people, or about eighty-nine percent of those arrested, had prior convictions. Thirty-four percent, or 1,063 people, had multiple convictions. Forty-seven percent, or 1,477 people had convictions for violent felonies like murder, manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse, and drug trafficking. About five percent of the total, 149 people, are registered sex offenders.
It appears as though most of the people arrested had active arrest warrants from local, state, or federal authorities, or had active or pending removal proceedings. ICE reports that its own National Fugitive Operations Program spearheaded the operation, using its records of criminal and immigration fugitives. Of the total number of arrestees, 334 did not have criminal convictions. ICE’s own reports on the sweep do not indicate how many individuals had multiple grounds for inclusion on the sweep list, or specifically what grounds put those 334 people on the list.
In Ohio, ICE agents arrested sixty-three people around the state. Twenty-two arrests were made in Columbus. According to local news station 10TV, the arrested people mostly come from Central America, along with a few people from Iraq, Canada, and Great Britain.
Michigan saw sixty-seven arrests, including twenty-one in the Detroit metropolitan area. The Detroit Free Press reports that ICE arrested a group consisting of mostly men from Mexico, several Central American and Caribbean countries, Iraq, Lebanon, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, and the United Kingdom.
ICE published names of several people described as “notable arrests,” adding details of their criminal or immigration histories. Most arrestees remain in the custody of ICE while they await either outright deportation or a court case to determine their deportability or removability. Law enforcement sweeps of this magnitude are uncommon, and a sudden influx of more than 3,000 people can be difficult, even if they are spread across the country. The scale of the operation, combined with the media attention, raises some concerns about the due process rights of the arrestees. It is conceivable that agents could arrest the wrong person, or that a person with a legitimate claim to an immigration benefit could miss the opportunity in an overcrowded administrative court setting.
The United States immigration system is often complicated and confusing. For a free and confidential consultation with a skilled and experienced Ohio and Michigan immigration visa lawyer, contact Gus Shihab online or at (800) 625-3404 today.More Blog Posts
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Undocumented Students Rally in Detroit and Other Cities to Protest Deportation, Immigration Visa Lawyer Blog, March 23, 2012
Immigration Judge Declares Former Salvadoran Politician Deportable Under Human Rights Law, Immigration Visa Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2012
Photo credit: ‘IcebadgeLG’ by www.ice.govUploaded by Carrt81 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons