Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced this week that it has nabbed 175 illegal immigrants who had multiple DUI convictions – as part of a national operation through August and September.
The nationwide law enforcement push began on Aug. 20 and ended at the end of September, and hauled in those with multiple DUIs as well as additional criminal histories that included assault, child cruelty, domestic violence, homicide by vehicle, and hit-and-run, the agency said in a release.
'More than 11,000 people in the U.S. died as a result of crashes involving a drunk driver in 2020. An enforcement operation focusing on individuals who have previously been convicted of DUI – some resulting in death or serious bodily harm – is vitally important to public safety,' said Corey A. Price, ICE enforcement and removal operations (ERO) executive associate director.
'ERO continues to remove unlawfully present individuals who are negatively affecting the safety of our communities,' he said.
ICE implemented new restricted priorities last year that limited ICE officers to targeting illegal immigrants who were either recent border crossers, national security threats or public safety threats. The implementation of that guidance coincided with a sharp drop in arrests and deportations.
In FY 2021, which included the final months of the Trump administration, ICE arrested 74,082 noncitizens in FY 2021, and deported 59,011. Of the 74,082 arrests between October 2020 and October 2021, only 47,755 took place after Feb. 18 when the new priorities were implemented. Of removals, just 28,677 of the 59,011 deportations took place after Feb. 18.
In FY 2020, there were 103,603 arrests and 185,884 removals. In FY 2019 the agency arrested 143,099 illegal immigrants and deported 267,258.
The administration has said that due to limited resources, the policies allow for the government to focus on the most pressing threats to the country. An ICE report released earlier this year said the agency arrested 12,025 illegal immigrants with aggravated felony convictions, nearly double the 6,815 arrested in FY 2020.
However, those priorities have been blocked by a federal court in June after a lawsuit from Republican states, on the basis that the guidance 'provides a new basis on which aliens may avoid being subject to the enforcement of immigration law.' It is therefore a rule and subject also to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and subject to certain conditions, like a notice-and-comment period.
In the new operation, those arrested include a 40-year-old Mexican in Georgia with a conviction of homicide by vehicle, a 35-year-old Salvadoran in New York convicted of vehicular manslaughter, and a 45-year-old Mexican in California convicted of hit-and-run causing death or injury.
Agents also nabbed a 48-year-old Salvadoran convicted of DUIs, attempted criminal possession of a weapon and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
Those arrested are placed into removal proceedings if not already, and will face a federal immigration judge.