May 24, 2008

Sting nets 84 illegal immigrants

Sting nets 84 illegal immigrants
Arrests for ignoring deportation orders or skipping hearings were in Austin, San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley.
By Juan Castillo

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Federal officials on Friday announced the arrests of 84 people on immigration violations, including 56 who had failed to appear for hearings or had ignored a judge's final deportation orders.

The arrests in Austin, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley were part of a four-day operation that began Sunday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

Those arrested are from El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua, Kenya, Guatemala and Honduras. They were arrested by fugitive operations teams based in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The agency said it created its fugitive operations program in 2003 to eliminate a backlog of fugitives and ensure that deportation orders are enforced.

"If you ignore a federal immigration judge's deportation order, ICE will find you, arrest you and return you to your home country," said Marc Moore, field office director of the agency's office of detention and removal operations in San Antonio. Moore oversees an area that includes Austin, San Antonio, Waco, Harlingen, Brownsville and Laredo.

About half of the arrests were in Austin. Among those arrested was Maximo Flores-Avila, 57, a Mexican citizen who was living and working in Austin. The agency said Flores-Avila has a criminal history that includes assault with bodily injury, unlawfully carrying a weapon and forgery. He was ordered deported in 2006 after an immigration appeals board reaffirmed a federal judge's 2005 deportation order, the agency said.

Twenty-eight of those arrested were immigration violators the teams encountered during the operation.

jcastillo@statesman.com; 445-3635

http://www.statesman.com/search/content/news/stories/local/05/24/0524icearrests.html

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