WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Fugitive Operations teams arrested 498 individuals from 42 countries for federal immigration violations in multiple cities across the U.S. during a four-day operation that ended Wednesday. Operation ‘Safe City’ focused on cities and regions where ICE deportation officers are denied access to jails and prisons to interview suspected immigration violators or jurisdictions where ICE detainers are not honored.

The operation targeted individuals who have violated U.S. immigration laws, prioritizing aliens with criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, known gang members and affiliates, immigration fugitives and those who re-entered the U.S. after deportation. Individuals with active DACA were not targeted for arrest.

“Sanctuary jurisdictions that do not honor detainers or allow us access to jails and prisons are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration,” said ICE Acting Director Tom Homan. “As a result, ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities.”

“ICE’s goal is to build cooperative, respectful relationships with our law enforcement partners to help prevent dangerous criminal aliens from being released back onto the streets. Non-cooperation policies severely undermine that effort at the expense of public safety,” he said.

Operation Safe City arrests took place in Baltimore (28), Cook County, Illinois (30), Denver (63), Los Angeles (101), New York (45), Philadelphia (107), Portland, Ore. (33), Santa Clara County, Calif (27); and Washington, D.C. (14) and the state of Massachusetts (50).

Among those arrested during this week’s operation were:

  • In Baltimore, a citizen of El Salvador who entered the U.S. illegally on a fraudulent passport, and was previously charged with attempted murder/conspiracy to commit murder and convicted of first degree assault. She was previously released from local custody before ICE could assume custody.
  • In Boston, a citizen of India who entered the U.S. illegally and who was convicted of indecent assault/battery on a person over 14 and was required to register as a sex offender.
  • In Denver, a citizen of Guatemala with lawful permanent legal status who was previously convicted of felony menacing, 6 DUIs, child abuse, assault and domestic violence harassment.
  • In Los Angeles, a citizen of Mexico and documented Colonia Chiques gang member who entered the United States illegally. At the time of his arrest, the subject rammed multiple law enforcement vehicles in an effort to evade arrest. After he was placed under arrest, a search of his person revealed a loaded handgun in his pocket. The subject was turned over to local authorities and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, probation in possession of firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded firearm in public.
  • In New York, a citizen of Ecuador with lawful permanent resident status who was previously charged with sexual abuse of a minor and convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, and convicted of sexual abuse of a minor under 14. He was previously released from local custody before ICE could assume custody.
  • In Philadelphia, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, who entered the country illegally and who has previous convictions for possession of firearms. He was previously released from local custody before ICE could assume custody.
  • In San Francisco, a citizen of El Salvador who entered the country illegally and who has previous convictions for sex with a minor under 16. He was previously released from local custody before ICE could assume custody.
  • In San Jose, a citizen of Mexico who entered the U.S. on a visa and overstayed that visa for more than 10 years. He was previously convicted of felony possession and purchase of narcotics, possession of a controlled substance for sale, and felony child cruelty with the possibility of injury or death. He was previously released from local custody before ICE could assume custody.
  • In Seattle, a citizen of Mexico who entered the country illegally and who has previous convictions for DUI, reckless endangerment and negligent driving.
  • In Washington, D.C., a citizen of El Salvador who entered the country illegally and who has previous convictions for possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Of the 498 individuals taken into custody during this operation for immigration violations:

  • 317 had criminal convictions, as noted in the chart below;
  • 68 are immigration fugitives;
  • 104 are previously deported criminal aliens; and
  • 18 are gang members or affiliates.
Operation Safe City  Criminal Convictions
Criminal Conviction Total Criminal Conviction Total
Aggravated assault 6 Illegal re-entry 5
Agg. assault public officer strong arm 2 Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child 2
Aggravated assault weapon 7 Invade Privacy 1
Amphetamine possession 3 Larceny 9
Amphetamine sell 1 Marijuana possession 1
Assault 13 Marijuana sell 1
Assault – Domestic Violence 2 Negligent manslaughter vehicle 1
Battery 4 Obstructing justice 1
Bribery 1 Peeping tom 1
Burglary 5 Possession of Cocaine 1
Carrying concealed weapon 2 Possession of Firearm 1
Cocaine possession 6 Possession of weapon 5
Cocaine sell 5 Prostitution 5
Contempt of court 1 Public order crimes 1
Controlled Substance 4 Rape 1
Counterfeiting 1 Receive stolen property 1
Cruelty toward child 4 Robbery strong arm 2
Cruelty toward wife 1 Robbery weapon 3
Damage property 3 Sex assault 4
Dangerous drugs 7 Sex offense against child/fondling 10
Disorderly conduct 7 Sex offense other 2
Domestic violence 12 Sexual exploitation of minor 1
Driving under influence 86 Shoplifting 2
Drug Possession 8 Simple assault 2
Drug trafficking 14 Stolen Property 1
Extort threat to injure person 1 Stolen vehicle 1
False citizenship 1 Theft of us government property 1
Forgery 2 Threat terroristic state offenses 1
Fraud 4 Threat to kidnap 1
Harassing communication 1 Traffic offense other 10
Heroin possession 1 Trespassing 3
Heroin sell 2 Vehicle theft 2
Identity theft 3 Weapon offense 11
Illegal entry 3 Total 317

Data Note: Criminal aliens with multiple prior convictions are categorized based on their most serious conviction. All statistics remain preliminary until finalized by ERO data teams.

Some of the individuals arrested during this operation will face federal criminal prosecutions for illegal entry and illegal re-entry after removal. The arrestees who are not being federally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. Those who have outstanding orders of removal, or who returned to the United States illegally after being removed, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.

These enforcement actions were spearheaded by ERO deportation officers assigned to the agency’s Fugitive Operations Teams, which are tasked with locating, arresting, and removing individuals who are unlawfully present in the United States. The teams give top priority to cases involving individuals who pose a threat to public safety, including members of transnational street gangs and sex offenders.

The officers who conducted last week’s operation received substantial assistance from ICE’s National Criminal Analysis and Targeting Center and from ICE’s Pacific Enforcement Response Center (PERC). Established in 2015, the PERC operates 24/7 to take appropriate enforcement action against criminal aliens and public safety threats who are booked into local law enforcement custody. The PERC shares leads with ERO field offices nationwide, issuing immigration detainers on high-priority and high-risk criminal aliens.