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Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 76 foreign nationals, all with criminal records, in Puerto Rico and Florida, including several in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, ICE said in a statement last week.
Among detainees, ICE said, were foreign nationals with serious criminal records such as lewd and lascivious behavior, sexual battery, child sex crimes, sex offenses, aggravated assault with deadly weapon, weapons charges and drug violations.
The arrests, which took place between April 18-21, came as similar targeted operations have become more evident across the nation following the swearing in of Donald Trump as president Jan. 20. However, similar targeted operations were conducted periodically under former President Barack Obama.
An ICE statement issued last week noted that during fiscal year 2016 the agency conducted 240,255 “removals” or deportations nationwide, and that 92 percent of “individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a crime.”
Other foreign nationals also arrested had less violent crimes in their records such as larceny, petty theft, trespass, fraud, driving under the influence or without a license.
“ICE is committed to making our communities safer, by removing threats to our public safety,” said Marc J. Moore, field office director for the Miami field office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), which oversees operations in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Communities across Florida and Puerto Rico are safer today because of the hard work of our ERO officers.”
ICE is committed to making our communities safer, by removing threats to our public safety.
Marc J. Moore, Enforcement and Removal Operations
Thirteen of those detained had previously been deported and may be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for felony re-entry after deportation, ICE said.
During operations, ICE received support from other DHS units such as Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Diplomatic Security Service, and various federal and local law enforcement agencies.
The arrests took place in Broward (16 detainees), Miami-Dade (16), Martin (20), Orange (11), Duval (4), Hillsborough (4), Collier (2), and various municipalities in Puerto Rico (3).
Among those apprehended in Miami: a Bahamian who had convictions for sexual assault, burglary, robbery kidnapping, and was registered as a sex offender; a Mexican who had been previously deported twice and had been convicted for cocaine possession, aggravated assault on family with a weapon, and false imprisonment.
In the West Palm Beach area, a Haitian had been previously convicted for attempted sexual battery, and burglary of a dwelling.
In all, those arrested came from several different countries including Bahamas, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, South Africa, St. Kitts, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Follow Alfonso Chardy on Twitter: @AlfonsoChardy