New York Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents conducted a massive sweep last week that resulted in the arrests of 225 people, more than half of whom were in New York City.
More than 180 of those arrested in “Operation Keep Safe” were convicted criminals or had criminal charges pending, including violent offenses such as assault and child sex crimes, per ICE. More than 80 arrestees failed to leave the United States after being issued a final order of removal or illegally returning to the country.
Among the arrestees in Brooklyn were a 31-year-old Mexican national with a rape conviction; a 39-year-old Jamaican national who is a registered sex offender convicted of weapons and attempted rape charges; and a 39-year-old registered sex offender from Ghana with a rap sheet that includes sex abuse and forcible touching convictions, according to ICE.
A 58-year-old Trinidadian who was arrested in the Bronx had previously been removed from the country twice and has more than seven nonviolent criminal convictions.
The arrests took place over the course of six days, between April 9 and April 14, in all five boroughs as well as Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Orange, Dutchess and Rockland counties.
The highest number of arrests — 163 — took place in the city, with 46 in the Bronx, 44 in Brooklyn, 40 in Queens, 25 in Manhattan and eight on Staten Island, according to ICE.
“ICE continues to face significant obstacles with policies created by local officials which hinder cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement. Yet, with the tireless efforts of the men and women of ICE, this operation was a great success,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director for Enforcement and Removal Operations New York.
As New York City continues to operate as a so-called sanctuary city, ICE has been at odds with law enforcement and the criminal justice system with regard to immigrant detainers.
The NYPD did not honor any of the 1,023 immigrant detainers issued by ICE between October 2016 and September 2017, according to a report from the police department.
Public defenders, meanwhile, have taken issue with an uptick in ICE arrests inside courthouses. While attorneys representing the immigrants argue the practice is deceptive and creates fear among the immigrant community, ICE believes it is often the safest and most efficient way to apprehend individuals, particularly when detainer requests are not honored and recently arrested immigrants are released from jail instead of being placed into ICE custody.
“The fact is that a so-called sanctuary city does not only provide refuge to those who are here against immigration law, but also provides protections for criminal aliens who prey on the people in their own communities by committing crimes at all levels,” Decker said.