ICE arrests 156 criminal aliens and immigration violators during Operation Keep Safe in Chicago area

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Editor’s Note: The arrest statistics provided in this news release represent preliminary data that has been manually reported to ICE headquarters. Official numbers can vary slightly from preliminary data.

CHICAGO — Federal officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 156 criminal aliens and immigration violators in the Chicago metropolitan area during a six-day enforcement action, which ended Thursday.

During this operation, ERO deportation officers made arrests in the following 37 communities:  Addison, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Bartlett, Berkley, Berwyn, Blue Island, Bolingbrook, Bridgeview, Burbank, Carol Stream, Chicago, Chicago Ridge, Cicero, Des Plaines, Elgin, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Geneva, Joliet, McHenry, Mt. Prospect, Naperville, Northfield, North Riverside, Orland Park, Palatine, Park City, Rolling Meadows, Rosemont, St. Charles, Stickney, Stone Park, Warrenville, Waukegan, West Chicago and Wheaton.

Of the 156 arrested, 74 had criminal convictions.  One hundred forty-seven men and nine women were arrested; they range in age from 19 to 64 years old.

Aliens arrested during this operation are from the following 11 countries:  Mexico (125), Guatemala (10), Poland (6), El Salvador (4), Honduras (4), Philippines (2), Ecuador (1), Jamaica (1), Jordan (1), Lithuania (1) and New Zealand (1).

Most of the aliens arrested by ERO deportation officers during this operation had prior criminal histories that included convictions for the following crimes:  battery, commercial sex, criminal trespass (vehicle), dangerous drugs, domestic violence, driving under influence, drug trafficking, felony burglary, homicide, illegal entry, indecency/sex conduct, larceny, obstructing justice, possessing cocaine, possessing controlled substance, possessing marijuana, reckless discharge of a weapon, retail theft, sexual assault, solicitation of a sex act, traffic offense and trespassing.

Fourteen of those arrested were immigration fugitives who have final orders of removal.  Thirty-six others illegally re-entered the United States after having been previously deported, which is a felony.  Depending on an alien’s criminality, an alien who re-enters the United States after having been previously deported commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, if convicted.  The remaining 106 arrests were at-large aliens who are illegally present in the United States.

The following are criminal summaries of four criminal aliens arrested in the ICE Chicago area during this six-day operation:

  • May 23 — a 42-year-old illegal alien from Mexico and a self-admitted Sureno 13 gang member was arrested near his residence in Chicago.  He was twice convicted of willful infliction of corporal injury.  He was ordered removed by an immigration judge, and ICE officers later deported him. He later illegally re-entered the United States, and was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison for unlawfully possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver. He remains in ICE custody pending his removal.
  • May 23 — A 41-year-old citizen of Mexico and U.S. permanent resident was arrested in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.  He has convictions for retail theft and possessing methamphetamine, which render him removable.  He remains in ICE custody pending immigration court proceedings.
  • May 24 — A 44-year-old illegal alien from Mexico was arrested outside of McHenry County Jail in Woodstock, Illinois.  He was convicted of Battery/Bodily Harm and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation. He remains in ICE custody pending his immigration court proceedings.
  • May 24 — A 28-year-old illegal alien from Mexico was arrested after a traffic stop in Palatine, Illinois.  He was convicted of possessing a controlled substance and sentenced to two years’ probation. He remains in ICE custody pending his immigration court proceedings.

These individuals remain in ICE custody pending immigration court proceedings, re-instatement of their prior deportation orders or criminal court proceedings.

ICE continues to face significant obstacles from dangerous policies created by local officials which hinder cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement,” said Ricardo Wong, field office director for ERO Chicago. “Sanctuary cities" not only provide refuge to illegal aliens, but they also protect criminal aliens who prey on people in their own communities. This operation was a great success for all members of our communities. The Chicago area is safer today because of the hard work of the men and women of ERO.”

All of the targets in this operation were amenable to arrest and removal under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.

ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. However, ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.

Some of the individuals arrested during this operation will face federal criminal prosecutions for illegal entry and illegal re-entry after deportation. The arrestees who are not being federally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.

In years past, most of these individuals would have been turned over to ICE by local authorities upon their release from jail based on ICE detainers. Now that many sanctuary cities, including Chicago, do not honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released to the street, which presents a significant and growing public-safety threat.

ICE places detainers on individuals who have been arrested on local criminal charges and who are suspected of being deportable, so that ICE can take custody of that person when the person is released from local custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.

ICE has no choice but to continue to conduct targeted at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which inevitably result in additional collateral arrests.  Such operations are much more dangerous for ICE officers, for the targeted aliens, and for bystanders.

Ultimately, efforts by local politicians have shielded removable criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and created another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect.

Despite the severe challenges that local policies have created for ICE, we remain committed to our public safety mission and we will continue to do our sworn duty to seek out dangerous criminal aliens and other immigration violators. ICE seeks straightforward cooperation with all local law enforcement and elected officials.

These operations involve existing and established Fugitive Operations Teams.

During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter other aliens illegally present in the United States.  These aliens are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and, when appropriate, they are arrested by ICE officers.

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