Officials of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement have rounded up more than 750 foreign nationals, including Indians, following a massive week long sweep targeting five Southland counties in the Los Angeles area.
Many of those in custody have already been deported or are facing deportation orders.
As a part of the operations ICE officers also looked for criminal aliens incarcerated in local jails and took custody of some 423 previously unidentified deportable foreign nationals who were scheduled for release from jails in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties.
Officials have pointed out that the seven-day effort is the largest single enforcement action carried out nationwide so far under Operation Return to Sender, an ongoing ICE initiative targeting criminal aliens, foreign nationals with final orders of deportation, and other immigration violators.
It is said that since its launch in June 2006, Operation Return to Sender has resulted in more than 13,000 arrests nationwide. During that same time period, ICE has also lodged nearly 3,000 immigration detainers against criminal aliens incarcerated in state and local jails across the country ensuring they will come into ICE custody when they complete their sentences.
"The goal of our enforcement efforts is two-fold. First, it's about restoring integrity to our nation's immigration system," said Jim Hayes, the field office director for ICE detention and removal operations in Los Angeles.
"Second, it's about safeguarding our communities from those who brazenly disregard our laws and often prey upon other members of the immigrant community," he added.
The violators were from 14 countries and aside from Mexico, those picked up came from countries like the Ukraine, India, Japan, Poland, and Trinidad. Since many of these individuals have already been through immigration proceedings, they are subject to immediate removal from the country.
Of the 757 aliens arrested during the past week, more than 450 have already been returned to their native countries, officials have said.According to statistics, in the last fiscal, ICE removed more than 190,000 aliens from the United States, including more than 86,000 criminal ones.