By Mark Coddington
mark.coddington@theindependent.com
Published: Saturday, March 14, 2009 11:06 PM CDT
Twenty-seven immigration violators were arrested this week in and around Grand Island by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

The arrests were made by ICE’s Fugitive Operations Team, which works to round up immigrants who flee after being ordered by a judge to leave the country, said ICE spokesman Tim Counts.

Many of those arrested fell in that category, though some were immigration violators encountered by officers in the process of arresting others, Counts said.

He said the first-time violators will face court proceedings, while those who have already been ordered to leave will likely be deported without a hearing.

Most of those arrested were being held Friday at the Hall County Jail, which has a federal contract to house people arrested for immigration violations, but Counts said some may have been taken to other jails with which ICE has a contract.

The arrests may have been made at home, work or during activities such as traffic stops, Counts said.

The fugitive program makes a priority of cases involving prior criminal records, Counts said. He said several of the people arrested in Grand Island have criminal records, but he was not sure how many.

Counts said this week’s roundup was not out of the ordinary for the team.

“This is an ongoing part of our duties,