Illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds fear deportation from ‘Operation Cross Check’

Tiffany Lane Contributor
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WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has changed its approach toward arresting and deporting illegal aliens with criminal records.

In just seven days, ICE’s national “Operation Cross Check” rounded up more than 2,900 criminals who were in the United States illegally. And unlike previous sweeps of this kind, ICE is working more closely with local law enforcement.

“Removing criminal offenders from our streets is good law enforcement. It’s good immigration enforcement,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Public safety is directly and significantly improved by deporting those involved in crimes.”

ICE removes about 390,000 illegal immigrants a year. More than half of them are criminal offenders, up from less than one-third in 2008, Morton said.

But Alexander Amaya, a 33-year-old Salvadoran immigrant, said deporting criminal aliens does not necessarily reduce crime — since the criminals often return.