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    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    ICE raids net 44 immigration violators in Central Nebraska

    ICE raids net 44 immigration violators in Central Nebraska
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    By Robert Pore
    The Grand Island Independent
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 @ 10:40 PM

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    GRAND ISLAND — Grand Island was one of eight Central Nebraska communities where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Fugitive Operations Team agents arrested 44 fugitive immigrants and immigration violators during a five-day initiative that ended Tuesday night.

    According to ICE officials, during the five-day operation, which ended June 24, ICE Fugitive Operations Team members arrested immigration violators in Lexington (25 arrests), Grand Island (12 arrests) and Broken Bow (2 arrests). There also was one arrest in each of the following cities: Cozad, Gibbon, Hastings, Kearney and North Platte.

    Twenty-eight of those arrested were fugitives, meaning they had defied an immigration judge's final order to leave the country and were targets of the operation.

    The remaining 16 were immigration violators encountered by ICE officers during their targeted arrests.

    Of the 44 apprehended, 10 have previous criminal convictions in addition to their administrative immigration violations.

    Officials said arrests were made at homes and businesses in the days leading up to Tuesday.

    Those arrested are from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador.

    "It's important for us to send a strong message to anyone who ignores deportation orders handed down by federal immigration judges," said Scott Baniecke, field office director of the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Bloomington, Minn.

    According to ICE officials, through May 31 of fiscal year 2008, which began Oct. 1, 2007, 542 illegal immigrants were arrested by Fugitive Teams in the five-state area covered by the Bloomington ICE office, including Nebraska.

    Of the total, 452 were fugitive aliens; 90 were immigration violators encountered by the ICE Fugitive Operations Teams during their targeted arrests. Of the 542 apprehended, 103 had criminal convictions in addition to their administrative immigration violations.

    In all of fiscal year 2007, Fugitive Operations Teams in the six-state area arrested 914 immigrants.

    Last year, ICE officials said the fugitive operations teams nearly doubled the number of 2006 arrests, increasing from 15,000 to more than 30,000. Additionally, in 2007, the nation's fugitive immigrant population declined for the first time in history.

    Estimates now place the number of immigration fugitives in the United States at about 572,000, a decrease of nearly 23,000 since October 2007.

    Following are some of the criminal immigrants arrested by ICE's Chicago Fugitive Operations Teams during its Central Nebraska operation:

    -- Alberto De Jesus Arias-Lopez, 28, a citizen of Guatemala, was arrested June 20 in Cozad. He was ordered deported by a federal immigration judge July 26, 2007, but failed to surrender. Arias-Lopez has convictions in Dawson County for assault and carrying a concealed weapon.

    -- Juan Mejia-Perez, 33, a citizen of Guatemala, was arrested June 21 in Lexington. He was ordered deported by a federal immigration judge Jan. 10, 2006, but failed to surrender. Mejia-Perez has a prior conviction in Dawson County for assault.

    -- Diego Avellan-Castro, 50, a citizen of Nicaragua, was arrested June 22 in Lexington. He was ordered deported by a federal immigration judge Aug. 8, 1990, but failed to surrender. Avellan-Castro has a felony conviction in Dawson County for cruelty toward a child.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member FedUpinFarmersBranch's Avatar
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    Friday 27 June, 2008


    ICE team arrests 25 illegal immigrants in Lex
    By Amy Schweitzer, HUB regional editor 06/27/2008
    LEXINGTON - Ten convicted criminals were among the 44 illegal immigrants arrested in central Nebraska this week.




    Starting Friday, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Fugitive Operations Team arrested 44 fugitive immigrants and immigration violators, said ICE Spokesperson Tim Counts.

    During the five-day operation, which ended Tuesday, officials arrested 25 illegal immigrants in Lexington, 12 in Grand Island, two in Broken Bow, and one each in Kearney, Cozad, Gibbon, Hastings and North Platte.

    In Cozad, Alberto De Jesus Arias-Lopez, 28, a citizen of Guatemala, was arrested Friday, June 20. He was ordered deported by a federal immigration judge July 26, 2007, but failed to surrender. Arias-Lopez has convictions in Dawson County for assault and carrying a concealed weapon.

    From Lexington, Juan Mejia-Perez, 33, a citizen of Guatemala, was arrested Saturday, June 21, in Lexington.

    He was ordered deported by a federal immigration judge Jan. 10, 2006, but failed to surrender. Mejia-Perez has a prior conviction in Dawson County for assault.

    Also in Lexington, Diego Avellan-Castro, 50, a citizen of Nicaragua, was arrested last Sunday in Lexington. He was ordered deported by a federal immigration judge Aug. 8, 1990, but failed to surrender. Avellan-Castro has a felony conviction in Dawson County for cruelty toward a child.

    Twenty-eight of the 44 total arrested were fugitives - illegal immigrants who fail to appear for their immigration hearings or hid after having been ordered to leave the country by a federal immigration judge. The remaining 16 were immigration violators encountered by ICE officers during the arrests.

    Counts said the fugitives who have already had a deportation hearing will be deported as soon as possible. That probably will be "in a matter of days," he said adding it could take longer if the detainees don't have proper documents such as a passport to legally re-enter their home country.

    Those arrested are from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador.

    Those who were contacted by ICE for the first time will have a hearing before a federal immigration judge.

    "It's important for us to send a strong message to anyone who ignores deportation orders handed down by federal immigration judges," said Scott Baniecke, field office director of the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Bloomington, Minn. "ICE uses all the tools and resources at our disposal to locate criminal and illegal aliens and send them home."

    Although ICE will not reveal how many fugitives it was looking for, Counts said it did not apprehend everyone it hoped to during the recent operation.

    "After all, these are people doing their best to hide from us," he said.

    Counts said that typically arrests are made at residences and workplaces.

    "Our officers are essentially investigators," Counts said. "They determine where and when is best to make the arrest."

    Libby Lawson, vice president of public relations for Tyson Meats Inc., said the arrests had no effect on production at the Lexington facility.

    "We are cooperatively working with ICE officials as they seek to communicate with three of our team members," she told the Hub.

    Although occasionally local law enforcement agencies assist the Fugitive Operations Team, this time it did not require much local help.

    Dawson County Sheriff Gary Reiber said there were no inmates from the ICE arrests in the county jail.

    Counts couldn't say exactly where the arrested aliens were being held.

    Occasionally, ICE will arrest an illegal immigrant who has an outstanding warrant from local law enforcement. Counts said those people would be turned over to be prosecuted and serve time before being deported.

    "The consequences of committing a crime shouldn't be a free trip home," Counts said.

    From the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 through May 31, 542 people, including 103 with criminal convictions, were arrested by Fugitive Teams in the Bloomington ICE office's area: Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. Of those, 452 were fugitives and 90 were immigration violators encountered by ICE during its targeted arrests.

    During the same five days as the Nebraska arrests, Fugitive Teams in southeast Wisconsin, Chicago and Kansas City, Mo., arrested 38, 43 and 48 illegal aliens, respectively.

    In March, 25 fugitives and immigration violators were arrested in Grand Island, Gibbon, Shelton, York and Sutton.

    Clipper-Herald Editor Lindsey Tederman and Clipper-Herald Correspondent Malena Ward contributed to this story.





    ©Lexington Clipper-Herald 2008




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