Caribbean nationals nabbed in immigration sweep

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has said officers from its Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) have arrested several Caribbean nationals among 271 immigrants as part of an enforcement action targeting immigration violators and those who the agency says pose a threat to public safety.

ICE said Wednesday that the enforcement action ran from March 18 – 22. ERO officers made the arrests across the state of Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (USVI).

Those arrested represented 36 countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Anguilla, Bahamas, Bosnia, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Chile, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Jamaica, Kuwait, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Spain, Turkey and United Kingdom.

Of those arrested by ICE during the enforcement action, 99 had criminal records that included felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as 1st degree murder, attempted murder, vehicular manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault, attempted robbery, battery, burglary, child neglect, cruelty toward a child, domestic violence, drugs charges such as possession and trafficking, weapons offenses and abuse of the elderly.

ICE said additional convictions included driving under the influence, fraud, harboring immigrants, illegal entry and re-entry to the United States, resisting an officer, traffic offenses, trespassing and workman’s compensation fraud.

As part of the action, ICE said ERO officers apprehended 49 ICE fugitives and 39 individuals who were previously removed from the United States, as well as two known gang members and one individual with an Interpol Red Notice.

“ICE continues our commitment to making our communities safer by removing threats to our public safety,” said Marc J. Moore, field office director for the ERO Miami Field Office, which oversees all of Florida, Puerto Rico and the USVI. “Communities across Florida and Puerto Rico are safer today because of the hard work of the men and women of ERO.”

During the operation, ERO was supported by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), US Customs and Border Protection and other US federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.

ICE said arrests took place in 23 Florida counties, including 76 in Miami Dade, 65 in Broward, 27 in Duval, 17 in Palm Beach, 14 in Hillsborough, 10 in Orange, seven in Seminole, five in Manatee, five in Lee, four in Pinellas, four in Brevard, three in Polk, three in Indian River, two in Volusia, two in Bay, two in Martin, one in Escambia, one in Gadsden, one in Lake, one in Osceola, one in Sarasota, one in St. Lucie, one in Suwannee, 11 in Puerto Rico, and seven in the USVI.

On March 19, ICE said ERO officers arrested a Cuban citizen in Miami Dade, who, in 2014, was convicted of attempted murder.

“The subject is currently pending a removal hearing by an immigration judge,” ICE said.

A day later, ICE said ERO officers from the Tampa office arrested a Haitian national and Bloods gang member in New York.

ICE said the Haitian national has multiple criminal convictions, including: burglary, patronized prostitution, possession of marijuana, meth and cocaine, criminal possession of a weapon and rape in the first degree.

The Haitian national was designated as a registered sex offender for life and served five years in prison for rape, ICE said.

It said arrested individuals who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the United States.

The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge or pending travel arrangements for removal.

ICE said all the targeted individuals in this operation were “amenable to arrest and removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

“During the targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter other aliens illegally present in the United States,” ICE said. “They are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and, when appropriate, they are arrested by ICE officers.”

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