(CMC) — The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says officers from its Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Long Island, New York, Sub-Office have arrested Jamaicans among 23 sexual predators during a six-day operation in Long Island, a New York City suburb.
On Thursday, ICE said that the enforcement effort, dubbed “Operation SOAR” (Sex Offender Alien Removal), ended on November 2.
ICE did not identify the Jamaicans arrested but said that, in the course of Operation SOAR, ERO deportation officers apprehended the individuals with past criminal convictions, ranging from sexual abuse to rape.
Several of those arrested are registered sexual offenders, ICE said.
It said that each taken into custody is currently being detained pending the completion of removal proceedings, criminal prosecution or removal from the United States.
Besides Jamaica, ICE said those arrested include nationals from Canada, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines and Portugal.
ERO deportation officers made arrests throughout Long Island, specifically in Nassau County: Mineola, Port Washington, Roosevelt, Uniondale; and in Suffolk County: Brentwood, Central Islip, Copiague, Huntington Station, Manorville, Riverhead, Rocky Point, Wheatley Heights and Wyandanch.
Additionally, ICE said two arrests were made in Brooklyn, and one each in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens – counties in New York City.
ICE said one Jamaican arrested in Uniondale is a 52-year-old with a prior US federal conviction for receiving material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor for which a sentence of 120 months imprisonment was imposed.
“When we talk about the safety of our communities, it should not be politics, it should be common sense,” said Thomas R Decker, field office director for ERO New York.
“We arrested nearly two dozen convicted sex offenders this past week, including many who conducted heinous acts against children, and could have been turned over to ICE instead of released back into our neighbourhoods,” he added.
ICE said the criminal histories of those arrested during the operation include acting in a manner to injure child, aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, attempted forcible touching, attempted petit larceny, attempted sexual misconduct, criminal contempt, criminal mischief, criminal obstruction of breathing, criminal possession of stolen property, criminal sexual act, disorderly conduct, endangering the welfare of a child, false impersonation, harassment, petit larceny, possession of a forged instrument, receiving material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual abuse, DWI and sexual misconduct.
Five of the individuals arrested during this operation will face US federal criminal prosecutions for illegal entry and illegal reentry after removal, ICE said.
It said an immigrant who illegally renters the United States has committed a felony punishable by up to 20 years in US federal prison.
The arrestees who are not being federally prosecuted are being detained in ICE custody, and will be processed administratively for removal from the United States, ICE said.
It said those arrestees who have outstanding orders of removal are subject to immediate removal from the country.
ICE said the remaining individuals are in its custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge.