U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in New York arrested 32 immigrant sex offenders during a sting operation in Long Island that concluded Aug. 3, according to a statement issued Tuesday.
Of the 32 arrested by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations team, 12 were registered sex offenders. ICE's New York Field Office confirmed to the Washington Examiner that all 32 people were in the country unlawfully or were subject to removal proceedings based on their prior convictions.
The crackdown took place under ICE's 10-day Operation SOAR (Sex Offender Alien Removal). All of those arrested had been convicted of criminal charges that ranged from sexual abuse to first-degree rape.
Officers made arrests mostly in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, east of Brooklyn and Queens. Those apprehended were from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Mexico, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Among the arrestees was a 24-year-old Salvadoran national who had been criminally charged with first-degree sexual abuse and sexual contact of a four-year-old child. A 32-year-old Honduran man was taken into custody over prior convictions of criminal sexual act in the third-degree, forcible touching, endangering the welfare of a child, and sexual abuse in the third-degree. He had been sentenced to 10 years of probation supervision for his crime against a 15-year-old female.
"ICE's continuing commitment to making our communities safer is underscored by operations like this one targeting sexual offenders. These actions focus our resources on the most egregious criminals and promote public safety in the communities in which we live and work," Thomas R. Decker, ERO's field office director for New York, said in a statement. "ERO officers are out there every day enforcing immigration law with targeted enforcement actions. ICE will not waiver in its promise to arrest and remove criminal aliens from our neighborhoods."
All of those arrested will remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
The operation is one of many since President Trump signed an executive order directing immigration agents to fully implement the laws outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, prompting some to label the operations as an inaugural move to deport illegal aliens. Trump promised to crack down on criminal aliens in the U.S.