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Latino Daily News

Wednesday February 23, 2011

Four Day Immigration Sweep Nets 58 Undocumented Aliens in Mississippi

During a four-day targeted enforcement operation in and around Jackson that ended Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrested 58 individuals, including convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and known gang members and affiliates.

Many of the criminal aliens taken into custody had prior convictions for serious or violent crimes, such as contributing to the delinquency of a minor, sexual assault, possessing and selling dangerous drugs, drunken driving, sexual contact and battery, and assault.  Eleven of the individuals ICE officers took into custody were immigration fugitives, aliens with outstanding orders of deportation who had failed to leave the country.

The arrests took place in the following Mississippi cities: Brandon, Pearl, Ridgeland, Canton, Carthage, Crystal Springs, Hazlehurst and Jackson.

Of those arrested, there were 57 men and one woman. Forty are from Mexico, nine are from Guatemala, four are from Honduras, two are from Panama, one is from El Salvador, one is from Peru, and one is from Costa Rica. They range in age from 17 to 71.

Seven of those arrested had been previously deported. A conviction for felony re-entry carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

This week’s enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE’s fugitive operations program, which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives - aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation handed down by the nation’s immigration courts. ICE’s fugitive operations teams give top priority to cases involving aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including members of transnational street gangs and child sex offenders.

Largely as a result of these initiatives, ICE last year removed more than 392,800 aliens from the United States; of that number, more than 195,700 were aliens with criminal convictions.