Sunday, February 12, 2017

ICE: We arrested two criminals on Staten Island, not five (Updated) (

ICE: We arrested two criminals on Staten Island, not five 
By Rachel Shapiro |
on February 13, 2017 at 7:32 PM, updated February 13, 2017 at 7:37 PM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Of the 41 people U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested last week, two were from Staten Island, not five, as originally reported.

Both have been convicted of violent crimes and are being represented by the Legal Aid Society.

Make the Road New York, an immigrants rights group, had reported that five people were arrested when ICE conducted planned arrests of more than 680 people in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and San Antonio.

But ICE says that figure is incorrect -- two men, both Mexican, and both permanent legal residents, were arrested on Staten Island last week. No additional people were detained or arrested.

Scott Mechkowski, deputy field office director for ICE's New York area office, said one man had been convicted of raping a young girl, served seven years in prison and another year for family neglect.

"We deemed him a public threat," he said. "We wouldn't release a guy like that back in the community."

The second man had been convicted of assault and served six months in prison, Mechkowski said. The man had also previously been arrested for a DWI.

They are being held in a New Jersey facility and will appear before an immigration judge, who will determine whether they should be deported.

Mechkowski's unit arrested 41 people, 38 of whom had criminal convictions.

According to an ICE statement, the agency "conducts these kind of targeted enforcement operations regularly and has for many years. The focus of these enforcement operations is consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE's Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis."

Of the other three, two were arrested because they had been deported previously and re-entered the country illegally, and the third one is "unlawfully present in the U.S." Mechkowski said, and the man was present when another person was being arrested.

ICE ran a check on the third man and found that he has been charged with sexual abuse and arrested him.

Mechkowski takes issue with the press reporting that people arrested were "undocumented" or "illegal" immigrants -- his unit arrested 24-25 legal permanent residents who had committed crimes.

While legal permanent residents don't fear being deported because of immigration status, a serious crime could mean a deportation.

Mechkowski said the arrests were not "raids" or "sweeps," but, rather, targeted arrests that ICE makes on a "day-to-day basis."

"We knew exactly who they were and we were going to arrest them," he said. "People think that ICE is driving up and down the street, stopping at churches, libraries and restaurants . .. and we jump out and we arrest them."

An ICE statement said: "These are existing, established fugitive operations teams. ICE does not conduct sweeps, checkpoints or raids that target aliens indiscriminately. Reports of ICE checkpoints and sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible. These reports create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Any groups falsely reporting such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support."

Immigrants' rights groups and others telling people not to answer their doors only serves to cause unreasonable fear, he said.

"This thing about knocking on doors is ridiculous," he said. If ICE were doing raids "I would have a lot more than 41 people."

Causing immigrants to fear deportation just because they're in the country illegally is, "irresponsible reporting, whether it's from community activists or community leaders," Mechkowski said. They don't try to break up families and make people feel unsafe, he said. "It's to make the community safer. The people we target are public safety threats."

While there were two arrests last week, "we're going to be on Staten Island again, we're not going to stop going," Mechkowski said.

The ICE arrests are nothing new.

During President Barack Obama's administration, about 2.5 million people were deported, more than any other president in history, including George W. Bush, who deported about 2 million.

Like Obama, President Donald Trump said he will focus on deporting criminals, but in his executive order threatening to cut funding to sanctuary cities, expanded that beyond convicted criminals to people who have been charged with crimes.

ORIGINAL POST 5 immigrants from Mexico in Staten Island arrested in ICE raids: source


 STATEN ISLAND — Five Staten Island residents from Mexico were arrested in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that were conducted in New York City this past week.

The immigrants were arrested in ICE raids that began on Feb. 3 and ended this Wednesday, a source told PIX11 news.

Four of the residents were arrested at their homes while another was arrested outside a courthouse in Staten Island, according to the source.

Four of the people arrested have children who are U.S. citizens, the source said.

It's unclear if any of the individuals who were taken into custody had criminal records.

Deborah Axt, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, confirmed five people were arrested in the raids. The organization released a statement on the arrests, denouncing the ICE raids that have taken place in at least six other states.

"The Trump Administration has now doubled down on its war on our communities. We have confirmed ICE raids that have swept up five immigrant Staten Island residents over the past several days. These raids have the explicit purpose of tearing families apart. Our communities are understandably extremely concerned, but also resilient. We are here to stay, and we will fight back."

New York City is a sanctuary city, a term that generally refers to communities that do not cooperate with federal immigration officials. There are at least 39 cities in the U.S. that are sanctuary cities.

President Donald Trump had promised throughout his campaign to deport the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.

Earlier this week an undocumented Mexican immigrant Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was deported from Arizona to Mexico. This heightened fears that more deportations will be happening.

ICE agency said majority of the arrests, that have amounted to hundreds, were mostly criminals and fugitives.

A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman said overall about the agency's actions that everything is "routine," and are not part of casting a widespread net.

"ICE Fugitive Operations teams are out every day as part of routine, targeted enforcement operations," said acting press secretary Gillian Christensen. "These are existing, established fugitive operations teams. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately. ICE only conducts targeted enforcement of criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of our nation's immigration laws."

While ICE characterized the actions as routine, fear remains that the Trump administration's recent executive order beefing up interior enforcement of immigration laws could mean a vast expansion of deportations of undocumented immigrants.

PIX11 Reporter Myles Miller contributed to this report.

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