As part of a recent week-long investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 55 foreign nationals from 22 countries in the New York City metro region, the agency announced Monday.
ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations team targeted at-large criminal immigrants, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives during the operation that took place from Nov. 13 to Nov. 20.
Of the 55 arrested, 42 had an active ICE detainer, but were released while in local law enforcement custody, said Thomas Decker, field office director for ERO New York, “which poses an increased risk to the officers and the community.”
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“It is important for city residents to know that although the City of New York releases inmates with active ICE detainers back into their community, ICE will be diligent in its responsibility to find those who come to the United States to prey upon our communities and ultimately have them removed from the country,” Decker added.
Ten arrestees were immigration fugitives or were previously removed from the country. Anyone who re-enters the U.S. after being deported faces federal felony charges and up to 20 years in prison if convicted, ICE said.
The arrestees, which consisted of 46 men and nine women, hailed from 22 different countries. Twenty-three were arrested in Kings County, while 14 were taken into custody in Queens County and a handful were from Bronx, New York, Putnam, Richmond and Westchester counties.
The NYPD did not yet respond to a Metro request for comment regarding the releases of the 42 arrestees who had ICE detainers.
Individuals who were arrested but will not be criminally prosecuted will be processed for deportation, ICE said.