The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency arrested 74 illegal immigrants in Michigan and Ohio and will proceed to deport them. According to a December 22 statement, ICE worked on the arrests for eleven days and closed the operation on December 8. The agency focused on detaining persons with significant criminal records. Among those arrested were aliens who had been charged with drug trafficking, illegal possession of firearms, domestic violence, among other alleged crimes.
According to ICE, the illegal immigrants currently under arrest had been put on a priority list that was published in 2014 by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in response to a request made by President Obama.
Among the issues that are prioritized by ICE: threats to national security, membership in criminal organizations, previous convictions, aggravated crimes, persons who have committed three or more less-serious crimes. However, also included are persons who have been convicted for lesser crimes, including driving while intoxicated.
The countries represented in the dragnet included, The foreign nationals arrested during the operation include citizens of 18 countries, including Mexico, Guatemala, Bosnia, Burma, Honduras, Ecuador, Bhutan, El Salvador, Jamaica, Iraq, Venezuela, Jordan, Ukraine, Pakistan, Lebanon, Zambia, Saudi Arabia, and Germany. Those who are not being criminally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. The arrestees 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.
Among those arrested is a Guatemalan man (26) who had been deported on two previous occasions for illegal possession of firearms, money laundering, and membership in a criminal organization, among other crimes.
Of those arrested, those who already have deportation orders and had illegally returned to the United States were deported immediately, while the others will be processed by ICE and the courts. According to ICE, the number of persons deported during the Obama administration now stands at 2.8 million. However, this figure has been disputed by Obama’s critics who charged the administration has manipulated the definition those falling into the category of deportees. In 2015, the Obama administration contends that it deported 333.341 persons who are considered unauthorized immigrants, which represents a drop of 20% over 2014.
Immigrants rights group claim that the number of persons without criminal records rose to 193,000, while those with a criminal past was 140,000 in 2015.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.