The Hudson Valley was among three areas targeted by federal officers from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, which led to the arrest of several sexual predators during a two-day operation this week.
As part of “Operation SOAR” (Sexual Offender Alien Removal), ICE officers arrested 16 undocumented sex offenders, with arrests taking place in Rockland County, on Long Island and throughout New York City. The two-day enforcement effort ended on Sept. 11.
During the course of the operation, each of the suspects taken into custody had criminal histories related to sexual offenses. Of the 16 arrested, five had previously been released from local law enforcement on an active detainer. According to ICE, the officers “place detainers on individuals who have been arrested on local criminal charges and who are suspected of being deportable, so that ICE can take custody of that person when he or she is released from local custody.”
In previous years, most of those placed with detainers were turned over to ICE by local authorities. However, with sanctuary cities, including New York City, not honoring detainers, those individuals wind up released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat, officials noted.
“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.”
Individual names of those who were arrested have not been released, though they announced that the arrestees include immigrants from Guatemala, Italy, Mexico and El Salvador, all of whom may have committed sexual crimes against minors. The criminal histories of those arrested include charges such as forcible compulsion, sexual conduct against a child, forcible touching and attempted rape, as well as other sex, weapons and drug charges. Several of them are also registered sex offenders.
ERO deportation officers made arrests in New City, but no additional details were given regarding who was picked up for which offenses.
According to ICE, one of the individuals arrested during this operation will face federal criminal prosecutions for illegal re-entry after deportation, and failure to register as a sexual offender. The arrestees who are not being federally prosecuted, are detained in ICE custody, and will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. Any individual that returns to the United States illegally after being deported, is subject to immediate removal from the country.
“Many of those arrested in this operation had been found guilty of inappropriate sexual behavior against a minor,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ERO New York. “Our communities are safer, our children are safer, from the efforts of the men and women of ICE. We have removed them from our city’s streets and we will seek to remove them from the United States.”
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