Immigration officials arrested 105 immigrants and foreign nations during a five-day sweep that included several who were wanted by Interpol, federal officials said on Friday.
Of the 105 detained in the sweep, 10 of them were reported to be from Middlesex County. Including Middlesex, the sweep targeted 16 New Jersey counties detaining immigrants who re-entered the United States illegally after being deported. Several of those found allegedly have ties to gangs, including MS-13, federal officials said.
Federal officials said that approximately 80 percent of those arrested had prior criminal convictions.
“These outstanding results, which were made possible by our officers and law enforcement partners, highlight the tremendous commitment that ICE ERO has to public safety throughout the state,” said John Tsoukaris, field office director of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Office in Newark, said. “Our focus has been and will continue to be on arrests of illegal aliens who have been convicted of serious crimes or those who pose a threat to public safety.”
ICE did not release information on all the individuals detained, but of those included was an individual from Jamesburg.
According to ICE, the Jamesburg person detained is a 25-year-old deported Guatemalan national, who was arrested for aggravated assault and possession of a weapon. An ICE detainer was lodged with the Middlesex County Jail, but according to ICE, county officials refused to honor the detainer and released the person.
As with the Jamesburg person, partial information was released about three other individuals from Middlesex County, which were from New Brunswick.
A 34-year-old Honduran national convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, a 48-year-old Jamaican national convicted for conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a weapon and a 19-year-old Mexican national who is alleged to be a member of the 18th street gang were detained in the sweep.
The arrest in New Jersey come after the state attorney general’s order last week to limit local and state law enforcement’s cooperation with ICE.
Attorney General Gubir Grewal’s directive include limiting when police can handover jailed immigrants to ICE agents and have drawn criticism from ICE officials.
The federal agency has also sharply criticized Middlesex County for not holding some detained immigrants on detainers until federal officials pick them up. County officials have refuted those claims and said they are following a county policy.
As for the sweep in New Jersey, ICE officials said it was not in response to the attorney general’s director. However, the agency did say that New Jersey’s directive could result in more raids, according to multiple reports.
The individuals arrested throughout New Jersey were nationals of Brazil, (6), Canada (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Cuba (2), Dominican Republic (10), Ecuador (4), Egypt (1), El Salvador (8), Guatemala (13), Honduras (7), Jamaica (4), Korea (2), Mexico (28), Peru (4), Philippines (1), Poland (1), Russia (1), Serbia (1), Slovakia (2), Spain (1), Taiwan (1), Trinidad (1), and Venezuela (4).