ICE arrests 67 in Illinois

April 3, 2012 4:53:14 AM PDT
Critics say most of the 3,100 criminal aliens and immigration fugitives arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are not a serious threat to society.

For six days, ICE agents swept through the states looking for criminal aliens and repeat immigration law violators under Cross Check Operation. More than 3,100 people were arrested, including 67 people in Illinois.

"Right now, we have one that was arrested, a Mexican national arrested in the district court in DuPage County for criminal sexual abuse of a minor between the age of 13 and 16. He was arrested and taken into custody and now we are waiting for a judge to make a determination," Ricardo Wong, ICE Chicago Field office director, said.

ICE agents arrested 149 convicted sex offenders, 50 gang members, a few murderers and robbers, nationwide, officials said. But the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights insists most of the illegal aliens ICE arrested are not violent offenders.

"ICE has a nasty habit deporting ten very dangerous people and 300 or 400 people who are no threat to anybody -- and say they are deporting criminals," Joshua Hoyt, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said.

Hoyt said the nationwide sweeps include arresting people who have come back into the country illegally to be with their American-born children or have been ordered to leave but refuse because of their children.

"They are destroying lots of families, destroying lots of people who are a threat to nobody. And our country needs to look at the human damage being caused and come up with serious solutions," Hoyt said.

While ICE says its policy is to maintain family unity, the government agency says the arrests are all about safety and either target serious criminals or those who game the immigration system.

"Targeting those that are a risk to public safety or a danger to national security is simply our highest priority," John Morton, ICE director, said.