Immigration officials in Michigan arrested 77 foreign-born criminals and immigration violators during a four-day enforcement operation, the federal authorities have announced. Of those arrested, 75 were Latinos.
During the operation, which concluded late Thursday, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, made the arrests in Kent, Calhoun, Ottawa, Kalamazoo, Berrien, St. Joseph and Mason counties.
Most of the 77 arrested were non-criminals who had civil violations, mostly for failing to obey a final order of deportation by an immigration judge. More than 20 others had prior criminal convictions, and six had returned to the United States illegally after having been deported. A few others were arrested after immigration agents ran into them while taking others into custody and they could not produce immigration documents.
The offenses of those who had committed crimes and had been convicted included manslaughter, criminal sexual conduct, weapons violations, reentry after deportation, and assault and disorderly conduct, among others. Since many of the individuals have outstanding orders of deportation or have been previously deported, they are subject to immediate removal from the country, ICE officials said.
"A top priority for the Detroit Field Office is to locate and arrest criminal aliens and ultimately remove them from our country in a safe and humane manner," said Rebecca Adducci, field office director for ICE in Detroit. "This operation is yet another example of the critical role that targeted immigration enforcement plays in protecting our communities."
The sweep was part of ICE's Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large foreign-born criminals and immigration fugitives, they said.
ICE officials say the number of immigration fugitives in the United States is slightly under 525,000, a decrease of more than 71,000 since October 2007.
ICE last year removed more than 392,800 undocumented immigrants from the United States, which is a record number. Of that number, more than 195,700 had criminal convictions.