US

New ‘Heinous Criminals’ Added to ICE’s Most Wanted List

By Eva Fu

A list of seven criminal fugitives has been added to the “most wanted” roster by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authority as the agency seeks to track down the illegal immigrants.

The fugitives are from Mexico and the Central American northern triangle. Their accused crimes all involved vehicular killing.

“We have a tip line that gets hundreds of thousands of tips a year, we are just getting visibility of some of those more heinous criminals out there on the street that are fugitives,” acting ICE director Matthew Albence told Fox News, adding that they would welcome any help from the public to locate, identify, and remove these individuals from endangering society.

“Our priority is as it always has been, which is removing the most dangerous public safety threats from our streets,” Albence said.

The “VOICE Most Wanted” was ICE’s most recent fugitive list created during the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The office of VOICE, standing for Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement, was established in April 2017 to support victims of immigration-related crime and their families.

The other most wanted fugitive lists include one for human trafficking, one for those facing removal proceedings, and one for major criminals and terrorist suspects.

In Arizona, illegal immigrants are at least 142 percent more likely to be convicted of a crime than legal residents, according to a study by John Lott, founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC).

The study also found that illegal immigrants tend to commit more serious crimes, serve 10.5 percent longer sentences, are more likely to be classified as dangerous, and are 45 percent more likely to be gang members than U.S. citizens.

Closing Immigration Loopholes

One of the fugitives added to the VOICE list is Edwin Mejia, a Honduran national who entered the United States unlawfully as an unaccompanied minor in 2013.

Mejia was charged in Omaha, Nebraska, with motor vehicular homicide for the death of 21-year-old Sarah Root in January 2016.

Under the current Flores agreement, all minors crossing the border, whether unaccompanied or with adults, have to be released from custody within 20 days.

The policy, however, poses an opportunity for adult migrants to claim guardianship of minors to gain entry at the border and stay in America, even going so far as to use the same children several times. The number of family units apprehended at the border has surged from 77,600 in 2016 to 136,000 as of May of 2019.

“We know that these smuggling organizations are recycling children and using these children over and over again because the adults that they are coming with, who are not their parents, know that they will be released,” Albence said.

“It’s not just the fraudulent families, it’s individuals that are posing as fraudulent, unaccompanied alien children—so you have got 23-year-olds posing as 16-year-olds so they can get released, because they know we can’t hold them.”

“By fraudulently entering as a family unit or unaccompanied minor, illegal aliens can exploit loopholes in immigration laws to enter the U.S. and avoid detention,” an ICE press release from April 29 states.

Concerns over asylum fraud and human smuggling has prompted Homeland Security officials to initiate a voluntary DNA pilot program to screen out those adults who fraudulently pose as children’s parents at border crossings.

In response to a surge in migration at the southern border, the Trump administration asked Congress for an additional emergency funding of $4.5 billion on May 1.

There has been a spike in administrative arrests and removal of illegal aliens in the past year. ICE arrested nearly 160,000 aliens in the past year—an 11 percent increase from 2017. Ninety percent of the arrests involved those who faced criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, or previous final removal orders.

The number of removals also increased by 13 percent. Over half (57 percent) of the more than 250,000 deported individuals were convicted criminals, and nearly 6,000 were classified as either known or suspected gang members or terrorists, according to the ICE website.