ICE Sees Surge In Arrests Of Fugitive Immigrants

ICE sees surge in arrests of fugitive immigrants

By Vanessa Bauza
Chicago Tribune staff reporter
December 5, 2007

Federal authorities announced Tuesday that they arrested about twice as many immigrants who ignored deportation orders during fiscal year 2007 as they did the previous year.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 1,043 fugitive immigrants in the six Midwestern states overseen by operations in Chicago, up from 520 in fiscal year 2006, agency spokeswoman Gail Montenegro said.

Nationwide, ICE arrested more than 30,408 fugitive immigrants during fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared with 15,462 in fiscal year 2006.

The Fugitive Operations Program targets immigrants who have flouted deportation orders. In some cases, the immigrants were stripped of their permanent U.S. residency after committing crimes. The figures include a small number of arrests involving undocumented immigrants picked up by immigration agents who were seeking fugitives.

The surge is part of a federal crackdown on illegal immigrants that has heightened tensions in many communities. Sweeps involving immigrant gang members or workplace raids have contributed to a nationwide increase in deportations.

“We are continuously increasing our ability to identify, locate and apprehend those who either pose a threat to our communities or those who choose to ignore an immigration judge's order of removal,” Glenn Triveline, a director at ICE's Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Chicago, said in a statement.

The agency attributed the surge in arrests to better coordination between state and local law enforcement as well as an expanded Fugitive Operations Program.