U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have concluded a four-day operation in Massachusetts which resulted in the arrest of 19 illegal immigrants previously convicted or charged with criminal offenses.
Several of the illegal immigrants had been released by local law enforcement agencies without notifying immigration authorities, according to ICE.
“This operation clearly shows that ICE’s enforcement efforts continue to target criminal aliens with serious drug offenses who clearly represent a threat to public safety,” said Todd Lyons, Deputy Field Office Director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in Boston.
Many of the suspects were previously convicted or charged with drug-related offenses, including charges resulting from the sale of fentanyl and heroin. A suspect arrested in Brockton on November 3 had been convicted of possession of cocaine and heroin as well as vandalism, while another arrested November 4 had been convicted of possession of cocaine and oxycodone with intent to distribute.
ICE has clashed repeatedly with local law enforcement agencies that refuse to cooperate with ICE detainers and instead release wanted illegal immigrants back on to the street without informing federal immigration authorities.
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission,” read a statement from the agency.
In late October, a local North Carolina police force released an illegal immigrant and convicted child molester after it said ICE never obtained a warrant for the man’s arrest. While ICE had issued a detainer for the man, the sheriff’s office had ceased to cooperate with such detainers earlier this year, demanding that ICE send full arrest warrants.
A California law known as SB-54 effectively prohibits local law enforcement from cooperating with ICE to detain illegal immigrants. The Trump administration has challenged this so-called “sanctuary” law in the Supreme Court.
“As a result of SB 54, criminal aliens have evaded the detention and removal that Congress prescribed, and have instead returned to the civilian population, where they are disproportionately likely to commit additional crimes,” the Trump administration argued in its petition to the Court.