Operation “Return to Sender” hits Michigan

In “Return to Sender” raids from Sept. 8 to 13, ICE agents arrested 55 people, 11 of them with prior criminal records, in the area around Lansing, Grand Rapids and Battle Creek in western Michigan. Those arrested were from Burma, Cambodia, China, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Turkey and Yugoslavia. One man with a prior criminal record faces charges for having reentered after being previously deported. Most were detained in the Calhoun County Correctional Facility for processing and deportation. While ICE claimed all those without criminal records had ignored deportation orders, Grand Rapids Attorney Richard Kessler, who specializes in immigration law, said some were merely “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” detained because they were at the home of the individuals being sought. The sheriff’s offices of Calhoun and Kent counties provided “significant assistance” to the operation, ICE said. (Grand Rapids Press, Sept. 16; AP, Sept. 14)

From October 2005 to August 2006, ICE fugitive operations teams arrested more than 24,000 people nationwide, of whom “more than 9,000” had criminal convictions, says ICE. According to ICE, “more than 6,800” of those arrested have been removed from the US. ICE currently has 45 fugitive operations teams across the US and expects to have 52 by the end of 2006. (ICE press release, Sept. 11)

From Immigration News Briefs, Sept. 23

See our last post on the immigration crackdown and “Return to Sender“.