MILWAUKEE — Fifteen illegal immigrants convicted of crimes were arrested in the Milwaukee area during a two-day operation conducted this week by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
This enforcement surge, which concluded Wednesday, January 13th, is the latest effort by ICE to prioritize the arrest and removal of convicted criminals living illegally in the United States.
All 15 arrested have been convicted of crimes in the United States and fall within ICE’s enforcement priorities for deportation. Their convictions include: homicide by negligent use of a vehicle, strangulation and suffocation, battery, burglary, theft, domestic abuse, drug possession and drunk driving. The group also included three previously deported illegal immigrants.
Those arrested during the operation include:
- A 37-year-old Mexican national with prior convictions for strangulation and suffocation, and battery. He was arrested January 13th in Milwaukee and remains in ICE custody pending a hearing before a federal immigration judge.
- A 33-year-old national of Belarus with a prior conviction for homicide by negligent use of a vehicle for which he was sentenced to eight years in state prison. He was arrested January 12th in Milwaukee and remains in ICE custody pending a hearing before a federal immigration judge.
- A 53-year-old Mexican national with prior convictions for burglary, theft, and resisting/obstructing an officer. He was arrested January 12th in Milwaukee and remains in ICE custody pending a hearing before a federal immigration judge.
“Our immigration enforcement efforts are focused on arresting and removing convicted criminals from our communities,” said Ricardo Wong, field office director for ERO Chicago. “When we focus our resources on the most egregious offenders, we immediately improve public safety in the Milwaukee area.”
Following is the nationality breakdown of the 15 men arrested:
- Mexico (13)
- El Salvador (1)
- Belarus (1)
Arrests were made in the following Wisconsin communities:
- Milwaukee (11)
- Brookfield (2)
- Menomonee Falls (1)
- Wauwatosa (1)
ERO received significant assistance in the operation from the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
All of the targets in this operation met the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) two top immigration enforcement priorities as established in DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s 2014 memorandum. Priority 1 targets include threats to national security, criminal street gang members, convicted felons, and aggravated felons. Priority 2 targets include convictions for three or more misdemeanors or convictions for significant misdemeanors, including DUIs.
Secretary Johnson has directed ICE to prioritize the use of enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal assets to support the department’s civil immigration enforcement priorities. ICE continues to work with local law enforcement partners to uphold public safety, while taking dangerous criminals out of our communities.
In fiscal year 2015, ICE conducted 235,413 removals nationwide. Ninety-one percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a criminal offense.