(CNSNews.com) – A top official with the Department of Homeland Security told the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday that the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) division arrested more than 127,000 illegal aliens with criminal convictions or impending criminal charges during Fiscal Year 2017.
Matthew Albence, executive associate director of the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) division of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, testified during an oversight hearing on immigration enforcement and family reunification efforts, that the number represents an increase of almost 11,000 in the number of criminal aliens arrested than the year before.
“During Fiscal Year 2017, ICE ERO arrested more than 127,000 aliens with criminal convictions or impending criminal charges. In real terms, what this means is ERO removed almost 11,000 more criminals from the communities they were victimizing than it did in FY 16,” Albence said.
Albence broke that down further by the type of crime that illegals were convicted of or had charges pending:
- More than 76,000 dangerous drug offenses
- More than 48,000 assault offenses
- More than 11,000 weapon offenses
- More than 5,000 sexual assault offenses
- More than 2,000 kidnapping offenses
- More than 1,800 homicide offenses
“In fact, in FY 2017 and again in FY 2018, nearly 9 out of every 10 aliens arrested by ERO came to our attention after their arrest for a local, state, or federal criminal violation, with the vast majority of those convicted criminal aliens,” Albence said.
“On April 6, 2018, the attorney general announced a zero-tolerance policy for violations of 8 U.S.C 13.25 improper entry by alien, in which Customs and Border Protection would refer aliens it arrested for illegal entering the country to U.S. attorney’s offices along the southwest border for criminal prosecution. In accordance with the standard practice employed by federal law enforcement agencies who arrest individuals for committing federal crimes, CBP transferred these adults to the U.S. Marshal Service pending prosecution,” he said.
According to Albence’s written testimony, “As of the July 26, 2018 Joint Status Report filed with the Court, 1,820 of the 2,551 children age five and above whose parents were identified as class members, have been reunified with their parent(s) or eligible sponsor.”
Furthermore, “1,442 children were reunified with parents in ICE custody (HHS reported as of 0600 EST hours) and none of these family units have been removed. Of the remaining 445 parents in ICE custody (as of 0630 EST on 7/27/2018), 353 have final orders of removal and 120 have declined reunification,” he wrote.
Reunifying illegal alien children with their parents “required an unprecedented level of coordination between HHS and ICE, including the temporary assignment of nine ICE law enforcement officers and eight ICE data analysts to the HHS Special Operations Center,” Albence wrote.
Additionally, the three ICE ERO Areas of Responsibility (AORs) in San Antonio, El Paso, and Phoenix have been “operating 24/7 to support reunification operations, and will do so as long as necessary to effectuate efficient reunification of children with parents,” he wrote.