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Immigrants with criminal convictions detained in Florida

Last week U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the results of weeklong operation designed to detain foreign nationals with criminal convictions. This is the first time an operation spanning the entire nation such as this was limited to those with a criminal conviction on their record. The operation called Cross Check resulted in 2,901 arrests. It was a collaborative effort of ICE agents and city and state police officers, including those in Florida.

The government is currently focusing on three situations in which a foreign national may be facing deportation. In addition to those with criminal convictions, individuals may be detained if they illegally return to the U.S. after previously being deported. Undocumented immigrants detained at the boarder when trying to enter the country may also be deported.

Among other things, the individuals detained in the operation have been convicted of crimes such as drug trafficking, sex crimes against minors, attempted homicide and armed burglary. A large number of the individuals have been convicted for multiple crimes. 681 of the people have disregarded previous deportation orders causing them to be considered fugitives. Some have been deported in the past but had returned to the U.S.

Of the 2,901 people who were detained, 122 were arrested in Florida. A field officer at the agency's Miami Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations said 56 of those arrests took place in Miami-Dade County. Other counties included in the operation were Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe.

While names of the detained individuals have not been made public, other details have been provided by ICE. A 36-year-old arrested in Miami-Dade County has a record involving workers' compensation fraud and the aggravated abuse of a minor. In addition, a 39-year-old woman from Peru, who was detained in Broward County, has multiple convictions including one for sexual trafficking.

Many experts in the immigration field hold the operation out as the government's way of showing its commitment to focusing on foreign nationals with criminal convictions, not undocumented immigrants who are abiding the law.

Source: The Miami Herald, "ICE detains nearly 3,000 with criminal records," Alfonso Chardy, Sept. 28, 2011

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