On Friday, officers with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington Field Office concluded Eagle’s Shield, an enforcement operation targeting notable threats to public safety throughout Virginia and Washington, D.C. that resulted in the arrests of 132 criminal aliens on criminal and civil violations. ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office all provided assistance with the operation.
Operation Eagle’s Shield leveraged field office resources to identify priority targets for enforcement action throughout Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. From July 9 to 20, officers from the ERO Washington Field Office targeted and arrested various violent offenders, gang members, sex offenders, fugitives from justice, and those who otherwise pose a significant public safety threat. Arrestees include members of several different notoriously violent transnational criminal organizations such as MS-13 and18th Street gangs.
“We set out to locate and detain known, dangerous criminal aliens who are hiding and operating in the neighborhoods we call home,” said ERO Washington field office director Russell Hott. “Today’s announcement is the result of the absolutely essential work our ICE officers perform to identify the worst of the worst and ensure they have no refuge here.”
Examples of aliens arrested during Operation Eagle’s Shield include:
• An El Salvadoran national identified as a high-ranking MS-13 member.
• A Bolivian national who has four prior convictions for rape and intercourse with a victim under thirteen.
• A Peruvian national previously convicted for battery and failure to register as a sex offender.
• A Mongolian national previously convicted for driving under the influence and forgery.
• An El Salvadoran national who is currently facing criminal charges for felony strangulation.
• A Honduran national and illegal re-entrant with an outstanding warrant for two counts of felony rape, two counts of felony sodomy, and two counts of felony sexual abuse.
• A Philippine national previously convicted of felony possession of a firearm with a controlled substance.
• A Guatemalan national previously convicted for consensual sexual intercourse with a child.
• An El Salvadoran national who is the subject of a U.S. Marshals federal arrest warrant for felony assault with a deadly weapon.
• A Jamaican national previously convicted of forgery.
Using Secure Communities, ICE officers were also able to quickly identify removable aliens booked into custody on recent criminal charges. The Secure Communities program uses a federal information-sharing partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a simple and common-sense way for ICE to identify and take enforcement actions against removable aliens who pose a risk and threat to public safety and are detained in the custody of another law enforcement agency.
In collaboration with federal prosecutors, ICE is pursuing criminal charges against 37 of the individuals arrested during Operation Eagle’s Shield for federal offenses like re-entry after removal, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and unlawful possession of a firearm. Those individuals not being criminally prosecuted will be processed for removal from the country. Individuals who have outstanding orders of removal, or who returned to the United States illegally, are subject to immediate removal. The ERO Washington Field Office has already removed nine of the aliens arrested during Operation Eagle’s Shield from the United States.
The arrestees – 131 men and 1 woman – included nationals from the following 13 countries: Bolivia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Philippines, South Africa and Sudan.
ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention, and if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.
During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis for enforcement action.