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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 54 individuals throughout New Jersey during a week long action targeting public safety threats who were released from local law enforcement custody into the community instead of being transferred to ICE.

They hail from 12 countries – Mexico (21), Jamaica (1), Ecuador (2), Honduras (4), Dominican Republic (3), El Salvador (9), Guatemala (3), Guyana (1), Brazil (7), Costa Rica (1), Georgia (1) and Pakistan (1).

ICE deportation officers targeted at-large criminal illegal immigrants in non-cooperative jurisdictions, illegal re-entrants, immigration fugitives, and people in violation of immigration law during the operation which ran from Saturday, Sept. 21, to Wednesday, Sept. 25.

These arrests were driven by leads developed by the local field office in conjunction with the Pacific Enforcement Response Center and the National Criminal Alien Targeting Center. ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.

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ICE lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.

In fiscal year 2018, ICE arrested 158,581 aliens, 90% of whom had criminal convictions (66%) pending criminal charges (21%) or previously issued final orders of removal (3%). The overall arrest figure represents an 11% increase over fiscal year 2017.

ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable illegal immigrants from potential enforcement. All those in violation of immigration law may be subject to arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that arrest illegal immigrants indiscriminately.