ICE Arrests 275 Illegal Immigrant Sex Convicts in Nationwide Operation

ICE Arrests 275 Illegal Immigrant Sex Convicts in Nationwide Operation
ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) team arrests an illegal immigrant in Los Angeles, California, in a photo released on Dec. 21, 2023. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested dozens of illegal immigrant sex offenders as part of a 12-day operation.

In a nationwide law enforcement effort that ran from Feb. 5 to Feb. 16, agents of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) team apprehended 275 illegal immigrants convicted of sex crimes, according to the agency’s New Orleans field office.

“The individuals identified in this operation were found guilty of committing sexual crimes, often against the most vulnerable members of our population,” Mellissa Harper, director of ERO’s field office in New Orleans, said in a statement on Feb. 26.

Among the few arrests highlighted by the agency were a 34-year-old from El Salvador convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor, a 21-year-old from Mexico convicted of statutory rape, a 38-year-old from Egypt convicted of indecent behavior with juveniles, and a 62-year-old from Cuba convicted of failing to register as a sex offender.

Under federal law, illegal immigrants who fail to register as sex offenders can be deported from the United States.

Patrick Lechleitner, President Joe Biden’s acting ICE director, said in a statement that the agency is “committed” to protecting the United States through the “arrest and removal of those who undermine public safety and disregard our laws.”

Mr. Lechleitner also praised ERO officers for their “around-the-clock” work, pointing out that their nationwide operation targeted illegal immigrants who “demonstrated their willingness to commit sex crimes against innocent people, including children.”

The 12-day operation follows a similar nationwide effort in January, in which ERO agents arrested 171 illegal immigrants with pending charges or convictions for murder, homicide, or assault against children, among other offenses, according to ICE, a sub-agency of the Department of Homeland Security.

The ERO is the primary federal body charged with oversight of domestic immigration enforcement.

Sting Nets Illegals in Sanctuary Cities

The number of arrests made during ERO’s February operation was notably high in so-called sanctuary cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, where the agency’s field offices reported 41 and 36 arrests, respectively.

Apart from the California region, ERO agents also arrested many sex offenders in other major cities such as Denver, Seattle, and Salt Lake City, where a total of 39 illegal immigrants were apprehended.

“Those who prey on children are the worst of the worst, and ERO prioritizes these foreign nationals for removal from our community,” Michael Bernacke, director of ERO’s field office in Salt Lake City, said in a statement on Feb. 28.

In fiscal year 2023, ERO agents arrested nearly 74,000 illegal immigrants with criminal histories, including 4,390 people with sex and sexual assault charges or convictions, according to ICE.

In recent months, ICE revealed that among those arrested were alleged members of the notorious MS-13 gang and several alleged members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group.

They were apprehended by immigration officials in major cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Chicago.

One of the latest arrests occurred in New York City, where two illegal immigrants, suspected of being members of Venezuela’s largest criminal organization, Tren de Aragua, were charged on Feb. 15 in connection with the Jan. 27 attack on two New York Police Department officers outside an immigration shelter near Times Square.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.