GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ) – Officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) say 97 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and other immigration violators were arrested during a four-day operation in West Michigan.
This operation concluded late Thursday and was conducted by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) teams from Grand Rapids and Detroit.
Of the 97 arrested, 60 had prior convictions for crimes such as: sex with a minor, assault, illegal firearm possession, drug possession and theft. Twenty three are immigration fugitives who had been previously ordered to leave the country but failed to depart; 11 others had been previously deported and illegally re-entered the United States, which is a felony. Three other immigration violators were arrested during the operation and placed in removal proceedings.
“Our focus on priority targets continues to contribute significantly to the safety and security of communities in west Michigan and throughout the state,” Rebecca Adducci, field office director for ERO Detroit, said in a statement. “By targeting criminal aliens and egregious immigration violators, we are ensuring the best use of agency resources and a continued focus on public safety.”
Of those arrested, 86 were men and 11 were women. The nationalities of those arrested range in variety, from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, to Canada, Romania and Thailand.
The arrests were made in 11 west Michigan communities, including Grand Rapids, Holland, Wyoming, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Fennville, Grant, Niles, Kentwood, Newaygo and Pullman.
The enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE’s National Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives. ICE is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.