03 April 2012

US immigration carries out biggest illegal immigrant arrest swoop ever

US immigration officials have completed a six day, nationwide sweep known as 'Cross Check' in which over 3,100 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions were apprehended.

US immigration

In the biggest operation of its kind, ICE officials arrested more than 3,100 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions.

In the biggest swoop of its kind in history which involved over 1,900 US immigration officials, 3,168 illegal immigrants with either felony convictions or repeat criminal convictions were arrested and held in detention centres.

The operation, carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), detained 1,477 immigrants who had served prison sentences for felony crimes and over 1,000 illegal immigrants with multiple criminal convictions as well as 559 illegal immigrants who had returned to the US illegally after being deported, itself a felony crime.

While President Obama's immigration policy has claimed to be more charitable than its predecessor, the Obama administration has deported record numbers of illegal immigrants. However, the administration maintains that its focus has been to prioritise illegal immigrants with either criminal histories or those who pose a significant risk to communities.

John Morton, director of ICE, said the Cross Check operation was proof of the agency's "ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those game our nation's immigration system."

"Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 3,168 fewer criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators in our neighbourhoods across the country," said Mr Morton.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.

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