by Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com
LOS ANGELES — The Fugitive Operations Program of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has stepped up its crackdown against illegals.
Last week, around 120 employees of the Micro Solutions Enterprises in San Fernando Valley were arrested by around 100 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Authorities said the employees of the printer supply manufacturer were taken into custody for being in the country illegally. Eight were arrested and face federal criminal charges as they provided fraudulent information to get their jobs.
The ICE spokeswoman, Virginia Kice, said the basis for the criminal warrant that led to the raid was under seal. Those arrested were taken into custody for illegal immigration status were interviewed for what Kice called “humanitarian issues.” About 40 of them, including the elderly and those with children, were released to await a hearing before an immigration judge, Kice said. The rest, around 80 people, remained in the custody of immigration officials for potential deportation.
Meanwhile, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) teams in San Diego and Imperial counties, announced it has arrested 147 immigration fugitives in January.
Agency spokeswoman Lauren Mack reported that most of the arrests occurred in San Diego County. About 82 of those arrested were sought for having violated a deportation order or missing an immigration hearing; the others were people found during the searches who were not targeted but were also deportable. Of the total, 67 people were found to have criminal records, she said.
Mack said there was no special sweep but rather a continuation of what has become the agency’s routine practice.
The Fugitive Operations Program started in 2003 with eight teams according to Mack. More than 72,000 people have been arrested since the program began. Seventy-five teams operate nationwide, two dedicated to San Diego and Imperial counties. Congress has authorized the immigration agency to add 29 more teams by the end of September.