Immigration officers rounded up at least 39 foreign nationals suspected of human rights violations in their home countries. Offenses include forced abortions, kidnapping, murder, civilian torture, massacres, mutilations, recruitment of child soldiers, and more.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers teamed up with investigators from ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC) to identify and arrest foreign nationals with final orders of removal from immigration judges who are suspected of human rights violations in their countries of origin. ERO officers carried out the targeted operation known as “Operation No Safe Haven V” in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Newark, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco, a three-day roundup that occurred at the end of August, resulted in the arrests of 39 known or suspected human rights violators and war criminals, according to information obtained from ICE officials.
Sixteen of the 39 known or suspected individuals are also criminal aliens in the U.S. with crimes that include domestic violence, driving under the influence of liquor, drug distribution, firearm possession, grand theft, reckless endangerment, robbery, fraud and theft, officials stated. The migrants will be removed to El Salvador, Guatemala, China, Liberia, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Colombia, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, and Sudan.
Those arrested nationally include:
- 14 individuals from Central America implicated in numerous human rights violations against civilians, to include the capture, arrest and/or transport of civilians who were subsequently mistreated, and in some cases, beaten, electrocuted, and killed;
- 4 known or suspected human rights violators from China, complicit in collaborating with the government to assist in forced abortions and sterilizations against victims;
- 4 individuals from West Africa connected to a range of atrocities, including civilian massacres, mutilations, recruitment of child soldiers, extrajudicial killings, and other human rights violations; and
- an individual from Europe implicated in human rights abuses against political opponents through work with a security agency.
“ICE will not allow war criminals and human rights abusers to use the U.S. as a safe haven,” Acting Director Matthew Albence said in a written statement. “We will never stop looking for them and we will never cease seeking justice for the victims of their crimes.”
Six of the 39 were arrested in New York. Those include:
- A Guatemalan national and former military official who served at the site of military sweeps and massacres during his period of military service;
- A Chinese national who assisted in forced abortion and/or sterilization in China; and
- A Chinese national who was an active participant in China’s coercive family planning policy;
“The six arrested during this operation used the backdrop of New York City to shadow their illicit pasts in their home countries,” Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ERO New York added. “ICE officers will continue to focus their enforcement efforts on criminal aliens and others, like these known or suspected human rights violators, and will seek to have each one removed to their home country.”
In Baltimore, ERO officers picked up two more human rights violators. One, “a Central American man who was affiliated with an organization complicit in alleged kidnappings, inflicted prisoner injuries, and alleged murders in his home country,” officials stated. The other, “a West African man connected to a regime directly responsible for human rights abuses of citizens in his home country.”
“Since 2003, ICE has arrested more than 415 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes,” officials stated. “During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders against and physically removed more than 990 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, ICE has facilitated the departure of an additional 152 such individuals from the United States.”