A large group of undocumented immigrants convicted of criminal charges were arrested in Madison after a two-day targeted operation by a Milwaukee branch of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which ended Saturday.
The Enforcement and Removal Operations-Milwaukee Fugitive Operations Team arrested 20 people on an array of charges following the investigation, according to a statement released Monday.
“The 20 arrested criminal aliens have convictions on the following charges: armed robbery, felon possessing a firearm, drug possession, battery, domestic abuse, using a dangerous weapon, theft, manufacturing/delivering cocaine and multiple violations for driving under the influence,” a release from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.
According to the report, the 20 individuals arrested were three females and 17 males from Mexico, Argentina, Honduras, Laos and Peru.
The report said six of the 20 convicted were immigration runaways who had past deportation orders. One of the criminals arrested had been deported from the U.S. before but re-entered the states illegally. This act could result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years if convicted, the report said.
The majority of arrests in this operation occurred in Madison, but other Wisconsin arrests occurred in Jefferson, Watertown and Beaver Dam, the report said
According to the release, Ricardo Wong, field officer director for Enforcement and Removal Operations Chicago, said it is critical to identify and arrest criminal immigrants to improve public safety. Wong said targeting these types of criminals is the best allocation of department resources.
“In fiscal year 2013, [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] conducted 368,644 removals nationwide. Eighty-two percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a criminal offense,” the report said.
Correction: An earlier draft of this story used the term “illegal immigrants.” We’ve updated the story to refer to the individuals as “undocumented,” in line with AP Style.