In recent weeks, immigration officers have arrested nearly 40 people illegally in the country, 17 of which were in the Philadelphia area, and many had previous convictions.

The ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Philadelphia office spearheaded the enforcement surge from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, which covered three states and netted 39 arrests, according to a statement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which added that those arrested were from locales worldwide and many had prior criminal records.

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“We had a case of one person from El Salvador who was convicted of two counts of indecent assault where the victim was 15 years old,” said Tom Decker, a director with ICE Philadelphia, in a CBS report. “That person was, because of that conviction, a registered sex offender — but they were a legal permanent resident. Based on that conviction, they lost residency, and they had a final order of removal."

In Philadelphia, ICE stated that the 17 arrestees included a Honduran sex offender who had previously been deported. Those 17 are now slated to be deported from the country, CBS added.

In Delaware, the agency caught a Guatemalan national with four DUI convictions as well as a criminal sexual conduct conviction; he was also previously removed from the United States twice, ICE stated.

“We’re committed to focusing smart, effective immigration enforcement,” Decker said to CBS, “making the city safe, and removing threats from the street.”

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In fiscal year 2014, Enforcement and Removal Operations removed 315,943 individuals from the United States, ICE reported. The agency's priorities include those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives.