ICE tracks down criminal immigrants
Federal agents make 28 arrests in sweep
By Ian Schwartz
The KRQE News (Albuquerque, NM), September 2, 2010
Albuquerque — There has been a steep increase in deportations in the United States, a record 400,000 last year.
Federal agents recently rounded up criminal immigrants in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sweep, that lasted four days, netted 28 arrests.
'We keep very busy with the resources that we have,' said Bill Jepsen, Assistant Director of the Albuquerque ICE field office.
Jepsen said they went after people for different immigration issues.
'Some of those that have had the deportation hearing, or removal proceeding in front of an immigration judge, and have been ordered deported and have never left the united states,' Jepsen said.
Working with Border Patrol, ICE also targeted immigrants who keep coming back over the border after they have been deported.
ICE uses local and federal databases to track town leads, also interviewing neighbors and local businesses.
About half of the immigrants they rounded up have been convicted of serious crimes, and have slipped through the cracks or were never handed over to federal officials.
'Sexual predators, that we put at the top of our list,' Jepsen said.
Alberto Pena was arrested during the sweep at a heating and cooling repair shop in Albuquerque where he works.
He was here legally back in the early 90's, but then he was convicted of molesting a 5-year-old and should have had a deportation hearing.
In 2007, he was also convicted for failing to register as a sex offender, Jepsen said.
ICE officials said the criminal records for the other illegal immigrants netted in the sweep range from drug dealing and embezzlement, to forgery and document fraud.
Everyone arrested in the sweep will be sent to the ICE detention facility in Otero County until they are deported or go before an immigration judge.
ICE said so far this year it has deported nearly 150,000 illegals who have committed crimes.