(KCPW News) 54 convicted and fugitive immigrants in Utah have been arrested following a nationwide operation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Steven Branch, field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, says the six-day procedure brought in more than 3,100 violators nationwide.
“Here we are identifying those aliens that pose a threat to the community,” he tells KCPW. “The majority of these subjects were or are convicted of crimes and the fact that we have identified them, located them and arrested them and now they are in ICE custody and are going to be removed, it takes them out of the community and it prevents a lot of future crimes.
”ICE says the “Cross Check” operation was the largest of its kind ever performed, but Branch adds agents are working every day in Utah to remove convicted undocumented immigrants from the country.
“Any criminal alien that we can identify and arrest and remove out of the community is a positive. We don’t have the numbers such as other states like Florida or California and so forth, but we are aggressively pursuing any case that comes to our attention here, we don’t sit on them and we want to take action as quickly as possible,” he says.
In Utah, Salt Lake County accounted for the most arrests with 36, followed by seven in Utah County, five in Weber, four in Davis, and one in both Box Elder and Summit counties. ICE says among those arrested were a 51-year-old Mexican national in West Valley City who was convicted of attempted sexual abuse of a child in 2004, and a 33-year-old Cambodian national in the same city who had been convicted of aggravated assault and theft. Both had outstanding deportation orders.