87 immigrants arrested in Va., DC
Federal authorities arrested 87 foreign nationals in two "targeted enforcement surges" in the Washington area in recent weeks, rounding up men and women from more than 19 countries who allegedly committed crimes after entering the United States, officials said Wednesday.
Twelve of the foreign nationals were considered "immigration fugitives," meaning they already had been ordered to leave the United States but had failed to do so, said Cori Bassett, a spokeswoman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
She said the other 75 were in the country under "a variety of immigration statuses," but either were convicted of crimes or have charges pending against them. They face losing their immigration status and being forced to leave the United States because of criminal wrongdoing, Bassett said.
Bassett stressed that the two enforcement actions, carried out this month and last, were "targeted" at people already under investigation by ICE and did not involve random sweeps of places where immigrants congregate.
"A top priority for ICE is to locate and arrest convicted criminal aliens and ultimately remove them from our country in a safe and humane manner," Henry Lucero, head of ICE's enforcement operations in the Washington area, said in a statement. "Those who come to the United States to prey upon communities ... will be prosecuted for their crimes and ultimately returned to their home countries."
Of the 87 people detained, 85 were arrested in Virginia, including 57 in the Northern Virginia suburbs, ICE said. Their regions of origin include Latin America, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Africa. Some of them will be held in custody until the criminal cases against them have been resolved, then will face deportation proceedings, ICE said. Others will be immediately deported.
The operations that resulted in the arrest were separate from another ICE enforcement action this month that targeted immigrant gang members in Northern Virginia.
-- Paul Duggan
Washington Post editors
July 28, 2010; 3:03 PM ET
Categories: District of Columbia , Paul Duggan , The District , The Region , Virginia
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