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ICE Cracks Down on Criminal Aliens in California

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 14, 2009 1:15 PM

The United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a recent crackdown on criminal aliens in California. In a press release, ICE stated that the crackdown resulted in 286 arrests of criminal aliens.

The arrests were made in an attempt to protect the public from criminal aliens. "Criminal aliens" refers to illegal aliens who have committed other non-immigration related crimes. The ICE press release quotes Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary John Morton as saying, "Enhancing public safety is at the core of ICE's mission. Legal immigration is an important part of our country's history and the American dream exists for many immigrants.

However, that dream involves playing by the rules and those who break our criminal laws will be removed from the country. Sadly, many of the people victimized by aliens who commit crimes are other members of the immigrant community, who are following the rules."

This particular crackdown was the largest operation targeting criminal aliens to date. Federal enforcement officials report that more than 80% of the criminal aliens currently in custody have had prior convictions for serious or violent crimes, such as rape by force, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. ICE reports that 30 of those criminal aliens are guilty of sexual assaults on children.

While the ICE has drawn criticism for its haphazard arrests in the past, this particular operation drew praise. The Mercury News quotes Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute as saying, "It does seem like they did a lot more careful job of arresting just the people they were targeting. It sounds exactly the way a sophisticated, federally led operation should take place.'' Ms. Meissner worked for the Clinton administration's Immigration and Naturalization Dept.

Which brings up the question:

What Types of Aliens Can Be Deported?

  • If the alien is an inadmissible alien according to immigration laws in effect at the time of entry to the U.S. or adjustment of nonimmigrant status
  • If the alien is present in the U.S. in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act or any other U.S. law
  • If the alien violated nonimmigrant status or a condition of entry into the U.S.
  • If the alien terminated a conditional permanent residence
  • If the alien encouraged or aided any other alien to enter the U.S. illegally
  • If the alient engaged in marriage fraud to gain admission to the U.S.
  • If the alien was convicted of certain criminal offenses
  • If the alien failed to register or falsified documents relating to entry in to the U.S.
  • If the alien engaged in any activity that endangers public safety or creates a risk of national security
  • If the alien engaged in unlawful voting.

ICE worked closely with other federal enforcement agencies in order to ensure that the aliens facing deportation are indeed criminal aliens or aliens that fall into the categories above. They worked with  ICE's Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC) located in South Burlington, Vermont. The FOSC conducted exhaustive database checks on the targeted cases to help ensure the viability of the leads and accuracy of the criminal histories.

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