Federal immigration agents arrested more than 2,900 people — 60 in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico — in a massive national roundup of immigrants with criminal records that included convictions for robbery, drug trafficking and sex crimes, the El Paso Times reported.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on Wednesday said the seven-day operation named “Cross Check” was the largest of its kind with more than 1,900 ICE agents and other law-enforcement officers making arrests in all 50 states and four U.S. territories, the Times said.
One of those arrested in New Mexico was a 55-year-old Cuban who was living in Albuquerque, who had been convicted of cocaine trafficking and had returned to the United States after a previous deportation, according to the Times.
Of the 36 arrested in New Mexico over the past week, 18 had drug-trafficking or serious drug-crime convictions; 11 had been convicted of serious violent crimes; two were convicted of theft; and one was a registered sex offender, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. The other four arrested in the state have been convicted of “other crimes.”
The 32 men and four women who were arrested in New Mexico were picked up in Farmington, Portales, Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, with nationalities “across the spectrum,” including people from Mexico, South America and Europe, Bill Jepsen, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations assistant field director, told The New Mexican.
“On a national level, there were 115 different nationalities,” Jepsen told the paper.
All those arrested in New Mexico were taken to an El Paso prison, where some will have a hearing in front of an immigration judge and others with aggravated crimes will be deported immediately, Jepsen told The New Mexican.
According to the El Paso Times, the crackdown comes a month after President Barack Obama’s administration announced it would focus on the deportation of undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions.
“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE’s ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those who game our nation’s immigration system,” ICE Director John Morton said.