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By Henrietta J. Burroughs                Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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Posted on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011  
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Nearly 3,000 criminals were arrested during a seven-day enforcement operation conducted by U.S. immigration authorities. The operation, which was called “Cross Check,” targeted undocumented criminals and fugitives throughout the United States.

The crackdown, which was announced by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials today, netted a total of 2,900 convicted criminals and fugitives nationwide. One hundred sixty eight of this number were arrested in the Bay Area, with the majority of these arrests, 35, made in Santa Clara County.

The arrests, which were made last week, were led by ICE’s National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP). The program is responsible for locating, arresting and removing immigration fugitives and illegals who are involved in criminal activities.

In commenting on the local arrests, Timothy Aitken, field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in San Francisco said, “The results of this targeted enforcement operation demonstrate ICE's continued focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens that threaten the public safety of our communities here in northern California. 

“Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down at large criminal aliens and fugitives, there are now 186 fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods,” Aitken said.

Twenty three arrests were made in Alameda County and 21 were arrested in Fresno County. ICE officials said that other arrests occurred in Contra Costa, Kern, Madera, Marin, Monterey, Sacramento, San Mateo, Sonoma, Tulare, Santa Cruz and San Joaquin, Butte, Lake, Madera, Mendocino, Napa, Placer, Solano, Stanislaus and Sutter counties.

Officials stated that 126 of those arrested in Northern California had prior convictions for serious felonies, including aggravated assault, child abuse and drug trafficking.  Five documented gang members and 32 immigration fugitives were also arrested.  At least 11 of those arrested had serious criminal histories and prior immigration arrest records. Because of the severity of their cases, it was stated that they could face possible prosecution by the U.S. Attorney on a variety of charges including illegal re-entry after deportation, which is a felony that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

The “Cross Check program, which led to the nationwide criminal arrests, was described as an integral “part of the Obama administration's ongoing commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators.”


To contact the author of this article, Henrietta J. Burroughs, send an email to epatoday@epatoday.org.


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