WASHINGTON DC, United States, Thursday December 29, 2016 — Caribbean nationals were among a large number of immigrants nabbed in 2016, as the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sought to protect America “from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that threaten national security and public safety.”
In its Year-in-Review report, the agency said that its mission was accomplished by the people of ICE “working together and by adhering to our values of integrity, courage and excellence.”
ICE offered a “snapshot” of its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Management and Administration’s “daily work” in the report.
In March, during a five-week operation dubbed “Project Shadowfire,” ICE said 1,133 immigrants, including Caribbean nationals, were arrested.
According to the agency, the sweep included more than 900 transnational criminal gang members and others associated with transnational criminal activity, such as drug trafficking, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.
Nationals from 13 countries in Central America, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean were reportedly arrested in “Project Shadowfire,” which was a “surge operation” conducted under Operation Community Shield.
ICE said that 1,001 were charged with criminal offenses, and 132 were arrested administratively for immigration violations.
An unidentified Belizean was among 331 individuals subsequently arrested during a month-long operation in June that targeted criminal immigrants and other immigration violators in six Midwestern states, ICE said.
The operation was aimed at arresting and removing convicted criminal immigrants from the US, and arrests were made in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri.
In July, two more Belizean nationals were among 100 immigrants arrested in the Los Angeles-area.
The following month, officers from ICE and ERO arrested 58 persons during an operation spanning the New York metropolitan area, targeting criminal immigrants and “other enforcement priorities.”
ERO officers apprehended immigrants with criminal convictions, in addition to others who fell under the agency’s enforcement priorities, during the five-day enforcement action.
According to ICE, those arrested had criminal histories with past convictions for rape, kidnapping, robbery, burglary and other serious criminal offences.
The foreign nationals arrested during the operation included citizens of 17 countries, including Jamaica; Trinidad and Tobago; Dominican Republic; Belize; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Guyana; Mexico; Philippines; Indonesia; Guatemala; Ecuador; El Salvador; Lebanon; Colombia; Israel; Romania, and the United Kingdom.
“As we move confidently into 2017, ICE will continue to strive for excellence in all our efforts,” the report noted.