Guyanese among 54 nabbed during immigration crackdown in New York

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO) officers completed an immigration enforcement activity, which resulted in the arrest of 54 immigration violators throughout the New York City Metropolitan Area, and the neighboring counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Dutchess, Ulster and Westchester.

According to ICE, individuals arrested in New York include nationals from Guyana, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Moldova, Mozambique, Pakistan, Panama, Peru and St. Lucia.

The US authorities did not provide a breakdown of how many nationals were arrested from each of the countries listed.

ICE said the nationwide, weeklong immigration enforcement activity, which concluded October 9, focused on targeting and arresting individuals in sanctuary cities.

The New York arrests included charges filed for assault, sexual assault against a child, lewd and lascivious acts upon a child, rape and criminal possession of a loaded firearm. Other charges include criminal possession of stolen property, driving while intoxicated, robbery and grand larceny.

“Let us not gloss over the fact that the vast majority of the individuals arrested during this operation have criminal histories. It’s frightening that New York City politicians created laws that force local law enforcement agencies to release dangerous criminals back into the community despite the seriousness of their crimes,” said Thomas R. Decker, ICE ERO New York field office director.

ICE officially announced the results of the enforcement activity on October 16, but one Manhattan resident’s arrest garnered considerable media coverage in New York prior to the announcement.

On October 8, during an at-large arrest in Manhattan, ICE took custody of 48-year-old Fernando Santos-Martinez, an unlawfully present Mexican national who was removed from the U.S. on three separate occasions in 2003.

“ICE continues to protect communities by taking criminal aliens off the streets regardless of any locality’s cooperation policies – which is part of our congressionally mandated mission,” said ICE Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Tony H. Pham.

Despite a detainer lodged by ICE, the New York Police Department released Santos-Martinez from custody following his September 11 arrest for assault, attempted assault, attempted gang assault, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment. His local charges are currently pending.

According to ICE, following Santos-Martinez’s arrest, news organisations falsely reported claims of ICE officers misidentifying themselves as NYPD – an accusation that ICE leadership vehemently deny.

In an October 13 statement, Pham wrote that ERO officers use the term “police” to quickly identify themselves as law enforcement officers because it is a universally recognized symbol of law enforcement in most cultures. The statement goes on to explain that the use of the term is important because ICE officers often interact with individuals who are often not native English speakers.

Pham encouraged local officials to reconsider the policies which prohibit local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with ICE, suggesting that non-compliance with ICE detainers will likely lead to increased ICE enforcement activity.