|Geann Pineda |||Mar 10, 2015 09:18 AM EDT|
(Photo : Reuters) An inmate stands in his cell at Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles, California October 3, 2012.
Immigration agents have arrested more than 2,000 convicts who have been illegally staying in the United States in a five-day nationwide operation.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Operation Cross Check was aimed at sweeping out dangerous criminals off the U.S. streets by deporting them to their country of origin.
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"We're taking community safety threats or public safety threats such as child predators, those individuals previously convicted for aggravated felonies involving violence, national security interests off the streets and out of our communities," said Marc Moore, Director of Miami ICE Field Office.
Many of those arrested have already served their sentences but had somehow disappeared before getting deported.
Others were out on bail, awaiting sentences or released from state prisons but were not turned over to U.S. immigration.
They are now detained in a federal facility while they are being prepared to be sent back to their home countries.
"It can be convictions for murder, for rape, sex offenses, child pornography, robbery. It really runs the gamut of convictions, from significant aggravated felonies involving violence to significant misdemeanors involving DUI or under the influence of narcotics," said Moore.
Operation Cross Check lasted five days with more than 2,400 people arrested. In South Florida alone, 117 have been placed under police custody.
In November, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson issued guidelines in determining priorities for arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants.
Priority 1 target includes those who are considered threats to national security such as members of criminal street gangs and convicted felons.
Priority 2 targets are those who have three misdemeanor convictions or other significant misdemeanor convictions such as DUI's.
Notable arrests include a Polish native convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor and sentenced up to five years of probation.
A Jamaican national convicted of domestic violence and forgery was also arrested at his residence in Pennsylvania. Another is a Filipino woman convicted of child pornography who was arrested at her residence in North Huntingdon, also in Pennsylvania.
Cross Check began on Sunday, March 1st, and ended Thursday, March 5th. Those arrested came from 94 countries.
"Today, communities around the country are safer because of the great work of the men and women of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement." Homeland Security officials said.
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