(WASHINGTON) — Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Monday it arrested 3,168 criminal aliens and fugitives in a six-day nationwide sweep in every state including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
The operation dubbed “Cross-Check” included more than 2,834 individuals who had prior criminal convictions. ICE officials noted that 50 gang members and 149 convicted sex offenders were nabbed.
Although ICE has run similar operations called “Cross-Check,” ICE Director John Morton said this was the largest to date.
“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,” Morton said at a press conference in Washington. “These are not people we want roaming our streets.”
ICE officials said that most of the criminal aliens would be deported to their home countries. Among those arrested included 559 illegal re-entrants.
All of the defendants are in ICE custody pending removal proceedings. Among those arrested, 204 individuals have had their cases presented to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution on a variety of charges including illegal-re-entry.
Last year DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a policy shift to focus more on removing criminal illegal immigrants, and repeat immigration law violators instead of conducting enforcement operations against non-violent immigration violators.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire