Arrests target 145 immigrants in Texas with criminal history, ICE says
by Foster LLP, on News
By Mark Wilson, American-Statesman Staff
Immigration authorities on Thursday announced the arrest of 45 people in Austin as part of a wider federal operation earlier this month that targeted undocumented immigrants with criminal histories throughout South and Central Texas.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, agents arrested a total of 145 people in Austin, San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Waco in the seven days leading up to Feb. 16.
ICE said in a statement that most of the people it arrested had been convicted of crimes, including indecency with a child, assault, drug trafficking, human smuggling, illegally entering the United States, driving under the influence and drug possession.
“Of the 145 arrested, 86 had criminal convictions; 39 were arrested based on previous immigration encounters, four of which have pending criminal charges; 20 had no prior immigration history or encounters, one has pending criminal charges,” the agency said.
ICE said agents arrested 135 men and 10 women, ranging in age from 18 to 62 years old.
“The results of this operation are a clear indication of ICE’s commitment regarding the role we play in keeping our communities safe by locating, arresting and ultimately removing at-large criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety, and other immigration fugitives,” said Daniel Bible, field office director for enforcement and removal operations in San Antonio. Austin is part of ICE’s San Antonio sector, which also includes Del Rio, Laredo and Waco.
“ICE’s leadership has made clear that ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” Bible said.
ICE said 128 of those arrested were from Mexico, seven were from Guatemala, seven were from Honduras, one was from El Salvador and one was from Peru. One detainee came from Jordan in the Middle East.
The Mexican Consulate in Austin issued a statement Tuesday saying it received notification of the arrest of 11 people of Mexican nationality on Feb. 16, seven of whom requested consular assistance.
“Of the seven nationals interviewed, one person came from a county jail after his custody was transferred to the immigration authorities, while six were detained by immigration enforcement authorities as part of targeted operations,” the consulate said. “Of the six persons detained as part of specific operations, only one of them had an arrest warrant while the rest were ‘collateral arrests’ (people who were in the place and time of the arrest and who did not have legal immigration status were also stopped by immigration authorities).”
The Texas Observer reported last month that data obtained from ICE through a public information request showed the agency similarly arrested 132 people in the region around the same time last year from Feb. 9 to Feb. 12. But 60 of them had no criminal convictions, according to the data.