Federal Agents Arrest Undocumented Immigrants in NKY
Editor's note: This story now contains updated information (Friday, 3:34 p.m.) from ICE detailing some of the arrests. The original story, published on Thursday, is below the updated information presented here at the top. Additionally, part of the original story has been translated into Spanish and can be found at the bottom of this article.
A total of twenty-two people were arrested, classified by the federal government as criminal aliens, this week across Northern Kentucky during a two-day operation.
Federal agents made nine arrests in Covington, six arrests in Florence, four arrests in Newport, two arrests in Walton, and one arrest in Erlanger. Those arrested include twenty men and two women, as well as sixteen people from Guatemala, five from Mexico, and one from Zimbabwe.
According to a news release from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Chicago, most of those arrested had prior criminal histories including charges related to assaulting a police officer, child neglect, forgery, fraud, and driving under the influence. Four had previously been known as fugitive immigration violators and six were arrested for illegally re-entering the United States after being deported.
ICE specifically identified only four suspects by age and nationality:
- A 35-year-old Mexican man was arrested Dec. 7 in Florence. He was previously convicted of two felonies, one for assaulting a police officer, and the other for fleeing and evading police. Since he has been previously deported and illegally re-entered the United States, he faces prosecution for re-entering the U.S. after deportation.
- A 35-year-old Guatemalan man was arrested Dec. 6 in Covington. He has multiple DUI convictions and was previously deported and illegally re-entered the United States. On Sept. 2, 2017, four hours after being arrested, Campbell County (Kentucky) Detention Center failed to honor an ICE detainer and released him back into the community. He faces prosecution for re-entering the U.S. after deportation.
- A 39-year-old Guatemalan man was arrested Dec. 6 in Covington. He was previously convicted in Florida for felony fraud-impersonation. He also has numerous DUI convictions along with two other misdemeanor convictions.
- Also on Dec. 6, a 25-year-old Mexican man was arrested in Florence. He was previously convicted of felony possession of forged documents. He had been issued an administrative deportation order and remains in ICE custody pending his removal from the United States.
Depending on an alien’s criminality, an alien who re-enters the United States after having been previously deported commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, if convicted, ICE stated.
“This operation focused on targeting immigration fugitives and criminal aliens in three Kentucky counties, but we routinely conduct operations daily,” said Ricardo Wong, field office director of ERO Chicago. “By removing criminal aliens from the streets, our ICE officers help improve public safety in these communities.”
All of the targets in this operation were amenable to arrest and removal under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, ICE said in a news release.
During the targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter other aliens illegally present in the United States. These aliens are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and, when appropriate, they are arrested by ICE officers, a news release said.
ORIGINAL POST (Thursday):
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include further details offered by the ICE office in Chicago as provided by them to RCN
Multiple undocumented immigrants have been arrested in an operation by federal agents in Northern Kentucky, The River City News has confirmed.
A precise number of people that have been arrested is not yet known.
"While U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) is conducting an ongoing operation, no further details can be released at this time," said Nicole Alberico, a spokesperson for ICE's Chicago office, in a statement to RCN on Thursday. In an updated statement sent later Thursday afternoon, Alberico added, "Right now I can confirm that during a two-day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation ending today, Thursday Dec. 7, 22 criminal aliens and immigration violators were arrested. As of right now, once the arrested are processed, they will be held at Boone County Jail. A news release on the details of these arrests is forthcoming on Friday."
RCN first learned of the operation on Wednesday and the arrests started days ago.
There are multiple inmates being held on immigration charges at the Boone County Detention Center, which houses federal inmates, but a call there resulted in RCN being referred to ICE's office in Louisville. No one answered there.
Alberico said that more information would be released later but could not say exactly when.
It is believed that arrests have been made in Newport, Covington, and Florence. Covington Police Chief Rob Nader told RCN that his agency has not been involved in the operation. Newport Police Chief Tom Collins also told RCN that his agency was not involved, neither was it contacted by ICE beforehand, which he called "rare".
"They notify us because what happens if they end up in a shootout and I don't know ICE or the FBI is here?," Collins said. "They're really good about checking in when they get with law enforcement. It would surprise me if they did go to Covington or Newport and Covington PD or Newport PD did not know."
In the meantime, local immigration activists are mobilizing to help the families impacted by the arrests, which they believe did take place, at least in part, in Newort and Covington, as well as Florence.
"We don't have all the numbers," said Don Sherman, of the Immigrant Dignity Coalition in Cincinnati. Sherman said that he learned of multiple arrests of undocumented immigrants picked up on Saratoga Street in Newport. He said they were waiting to be picked up for work. He had also heard of raids in Florence in Covington, at least one involving a staffing agency.
"Frankly, I've been working with immigrants for a number of years. I used to live in Mexico and did work in Mexico and what I find is, they are taking people who, the vast majority, and I can only make a guess, are working and have families here and, many children have been born here, so they are breaking up families," Sherman said. "It's not going after the worst offenders, the people who have committed serious crimes.
"This is going to have a serious effect on various communities in Northern Kentucky and in Ohio."
Sherman said that his organization - for which he serves as chair of the deportation and detention committee - hopes to host a town hall meeting on this issue very soon. The goal is to figure out how to help the families impacted by the operation. "If they don't have income coming in, there are going to be problems making sure their children have enough to eat and making sure the rent and gas is paid," he said.
The local arrests come as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its end-of-year immigration enforcement numbers. Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke said the more than 300,000 arrests along the southwestern U.S. border with Mexico showcases a need for a physical barrier there. President Donald Trump has called for the construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“We have clearly seen the successful results of the President’s commitment to supporting the frontline officers and agents of DHS as they enforce the law and secure our borders,” Duke said in a news release. “We have an obligation to uphold the integrity of our immigration system, but we must do more to step up and close loopholes to protect the American worker, our economy, and our communities.”
“We have seen historic low numbers this year – an almost 30 percent decline in apprehensions in (fiscal year) 17, but we are very concerned about the later month increases of unaccompanied minors and minors with a family member,” said Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello. “We are also concerned about the significant uptick in the smuggling of opioids and other hard narcotics, including heroin and cocaine, which generally increase when illegal border crossings spike. The men and women of CBP, working along our borders and at the ports of entry protecting our great nation, are doing outstanding work. For us to truly have an operationally secure border, we must close loopholes in our laws that help fund the cartels.”
“These results are proof of what the men and women of ICE can accomplish when they are empowered to fulfill their mission,” said Thomas Homan, ICE deputy director, in a news release. “We need to maintain this momentum by matching the dedication and drive of our personnel with the resources they need to perform at even higher levels. We need to confront and address misguided policies and loopholes that only serve as a pull factor for illegal immigration. We must continue to target violent gangs like MS-13, and prevent them from rebuilding what we have begun to dismantle. Finally, we need to find a solution to the dangerous sanctuary city policies and the politicians who needlessly risk innocent lives to protect criminals who are illegally present in the United States.”
This story will be updated when more information is known.
Agentes Federales Arresstan Immigrantes Indocumentados en el Norte de Kentucky.
-Michael Monks, editor & publisher