Highlights — 31 December 2016 — by Adele Ramos
Belizeans among those nabbed in top ICE operations in 2016

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Dec. 28, 2016–In a summary of its top 2016 operations, the Unites States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provided what it described as a snapshot of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Enforcement and Removal Operations’ (ERO) and Management and Administrations’ (M&A) daily work. It reported that Belizeans, who were not identified by name, were among more than 100 people arrested in a Los Angeles-area ICE operation targeting convicted criminal aliens in July.

The report said that while the largest number of those taken into custody during the enforcement action are originally from Mexico (89), a total of 11 countries were represented, namely El Salvador (7); Guatemala (5); Belize (2); Honduras (2); Vietnam (2); Egypt (1); Philippines (1); Tonga (1); the United Kingdom (1); and Azerbaijan (1).

The report indicated that about 6 in 10 of those nabbed had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault.

In yet another sweep, spanning one month, a Belizean, who was not named, was among 331 individuals arrested during an operation that U.S. authorities said was targeted at criminal immigrants and other immigration violators in six Midwestern states this June.

ICE also announced 58 arrests in another enforcement operation targeting convicted criminals, this time in New York. The August 12 operation, which spanned five days, resulted in the arrest of foreign nationals from 17 countries, including Belize but the person(s) nabbed were not individually identified. The other countries of origin named were Trinidad, Dominican Republic, St. Vincent, Guyana, Philippines, Jamaica, Indonesia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico, El Salvador, Lebanon, Colombia, Israel, Romania, and the United Kingdom.

The persons arrested allegedly included “aliens with criminal convictions,” and persons with criminal histories with past convictions for rape, kidnapping, robbery, burglary and other serious criminal offenses, ICE said.

Furthermore, during a five-week operation in March, dubbed “Project Shadow fire,” ICE said 1,133 immigrants, including Caribbean nationals, some described as transnational criminal gang members, were arrested.

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