Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this week arrested 26 illegal immigrant sex offenders in a two-day operation in California, while the U.S. continues to face an escalating migrant crisis, which has diverted resources to the border.
The more than two dozen foreign nationals were arrested between Monday and Wednesday, and the operation focused on those identified as having criminal convictions for sex offenses.
Those arrested included child sex predators, including a 40-year-old Mexican who had been convicted in California for felony lewd acts with a child, and continuous sexual abuse.
Agents also took into custody a 35-year-old Guatemalan convicted of felony child molestation and a 19-year-old Salvadoran convicted of felony sexual forcible oral copulation of a minor over 14 and battery by restraint.
The operation was conducted by the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Los Angeles.
“The outcome of this operation exemplifies the professionalism, dedication and commitment of ERO Los Angeles officers to public safety,” Field Office Director Thomas Giles said in a statement. “Removing these individuals and the threats they represent from our communities is our mission, and we will continue to safely and effectively enforce the immigration laws of our nation.”
The agency pointed to 46,496 illegal immigrants arrested by ERO in FY 22 with criminal convictions, including 8,164 sex and sexual assault offenses. Numbers for FY 23 have not yet been released.
The Biden administration has drastically narrowed ICE enforcement, with agents now tasked with only going after illegal immigrants if they pose a risk to public safety or national security or if they are recent border crossers.
The administration says it is narrowing priorities so that it can focus on the biggest threats to national security and public safety with its limited resources. However, there has also been a sharp drop in deportations under the administration, including of criminal illegal aliens.
ICE agents are often blocked from doing their jobs by “sanctuary” jurisdictions, which often limit or outright bar local law enforcement cooperation with ICE.
Meanwhile, Fox reported this week that ICE is sending resources, including ERO personnel to the border, to aid Customs and Border Protection (CBP) deal with the historic crisis at the southern border.
Fox News Digital reported that ERO will provide 141 personnel to assist CBP with border operations.
Those duties will include responding to questions regarding medical and transport issues, enrolling illegal immigrants into alternatives to detention (ATD) electronic monitoring and coordinating removals and the necessary travel documents.
Meanwhile, the agency currently has 132 ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents at the border, and that number will increase to 197. As part of a memo of understanding, the special agents will be assigned to duties that include hospital watch, transportation, law enforcement searches, security and welfare checks.
ICE is a smaller agency than CBP, so moving significant numbers of staff to the border has the potential to impact ongoing operations.