GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Federal agents arrested 27 foreign nationals in West Michigan during a four-day operation targeting those in the U.S. illegally.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, said 21 of the 27 taken into custody had previous criminal convictions.
The enforcement action follows a recent announcement that ICE nationwide had a 40-percent increase over last year in administrative arrests. Of those, 92 percent had a criminal conviction or pending criminal charge, were ICE fugitives or illegally re-entered the U.S.
Among those arrested in the West Michigan operation were a Mexican national who had a prior conviction for assault on a police officer. Others had convictions for larceny, assault and battery, drunken driving, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, failure to stop at the scene of an accident, public indecency, indecent exposure, shoplifting and welfare fraud, ICE said.
ICE said it targeted “public safety threats,” including those who returned to the U.S. after being deported.
“Operations like this one demonstrate ICE’s continued focus on the arrest of dangerous criminal aliens as well as those who enter the United States illegally,” Rebecca Adducci, field office director of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in Detroit, said in a statement.
Five of the 27 are expected to face federal prosecution for re-entry after deportation, a 20-year felony.
Others will be processed for removal to native countries, or have outstanding orders for deportation and will be removed immediately.
Those arrested were 25 men and two women. They are from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ICE said.
ICE conducts targeted enforcement actions every day in places around the country. ICE agents often encounter others in the country illegally during the enforcement projects.
In a statement, the agency said: “ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy.
“However, as ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”