New Law Enforcement Teams Deployed to Capture Illegal Alien Fugitives
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Seven new Fugitive Operations teams are now operating in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, Phoenix, Washington, D.C. and Raleigh, NC, bringing the total number of teams nationwide to 45, according to Julie L. Myers, Assistant DHS Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
These ICE Fugitive Operations teams have federal authorities and nationwide jurisdiction. Though based in specific regional offices, the teams can be deployed to conduct operations anywhere fugitive alien populations are located in the United States.
The teams use intelligence-based information and leads to find, arrest, and place into removal proceedings aliens who have been ordered to leave the country by an immigration judge, but have failed to comply -- thus making them fugitive aliens.
"The United States is a land of opportunity, but it is also a nation of laws," said Assistant Secretary Myers.
"As such, an immigration judge's order of removal is not optional and must be followed. The addition of these new fugitive teams increases ICE's ability to aggressively pursue immigration violators as part of our nationwide interior enforcement strategy."
According to officials, the teams prioritize their efforts to arrest fugitive and other illegal aliens according to public safety criteria and other factors.
Of the more than 52,000 illegal aliens apprehended by ICE Fugitive Operations teams since the first teams were created in 2003, roughly 22,669 had convictions for crimes that include homicide, sexual assault against children, robbery, violent assault, narcotics trafficking, and other aggravated felonies and crimes of moral turpitude.
By the end of September, a total of 52 Fugitive Operations teams are scheduled to be operational nationwide. The Bush Administration's FY 2007 proposed budget would allow ICE to deploy an additional 18 teams. The 45 Fugitive Operations teams currently in existence are collectively apprehending more than 1,000 illegal alien fugitives per week.
ICE Fugitive Operations teams are assigned to regional offices of ICE Detention and Removal Operations, which often have responsibility for more than one state. Many regional offices have more than one Fugitive Operations team assigned to them, with some regional offices with significant fugitive alien populations have several teams.
The complete list of regional offices with Fugitive Operations teams assigned are: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Paul, MN and Washington, DC.
These Fugitive Operations teams are a crucial part of ICE’s interior immigration enforcement, according to ICE officials. A critical element of this interior enforcement strategy is to identify and remove criminal aliens, fugitives, and other immigration violators from the United States, they said.
The interior enforcement strategy is part of the Secure Border Initiative (SBI), which is the Department of Homeland Security's multi-year plan to secure America's borders and reduce illegal migration. SBI's border security efforts are focused on gaining operational control of the nation's borders through additional personnel and technology, while re-engineering the detention and removal system to ensure that illegal aliens are removed from the country quickly.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.