■ Mary Ann Morris / Editor
An illegal immigrant was arrested in Hemet on May 17 by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, with the assistance of Hemet Police Department. The arrest occurred in the 1500 block of West Florida Avenue, near Lyon Avenue, in front of Miller Jones Mortuary.
The arrest was part of a sweep targeting criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives, according to ICE. Officers from ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) division arrested 26 illegal immigrants in Riverside County, most of them with criminal backgrounds, during a five-day sweep throughout Southern California. All told, the sweep, which concluded May 24, netted in the arrest of 188 people, 11 of them women, in six counties. Locally, nine of the arrests were made in Riverside, four in Moreno Valley, three in Perris and one in Menifee.
Those arrested were previously convicted of drug offenses, domestic violence, DUI, sexual assault, robbery, manslaughter, child cruelty, prostitution and weapons violations, among a litany of other felonies and misdemeanors.
“Operations like this are emblematic of the vital work ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations officers do every day seeking to locate, arrest, and ultimately deport at-large convicted criminals and other immigration fugitives who pose a threat to public safety,” said David Marin, field office director for ERO in Los Angeles. “By taking these individuals off the streets and removing them from the country, we’re making our communities safer for everyone.”
At least eight of the individuals arrested during the just concluded enforcement action now face federal prosecution for re-entry after deportation, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Those not being criminally prosecuted will be processed for removal from the country. Individuals who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country.
Since President Trump signed Executive Orders regarding immigration enforcement priorities, ICE has arrested more than 41,000 individuals nationwide who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally, a nearly 40 percent increase over the same period in 2016.
Almost 75 percent of those arrested during this period in 2017 are convicted criminals, according to ICE, with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges. In the greater Los Angeles area, ICE officers made 2,273 administrative arrests during that timeframe, including 2,049 criminal aliens.