In March of 2003, in conjunction with the widespread reorganization of the Immigration Service and the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") was born. Replacing what was formerly known as the detention and removal branch of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, ICE is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. It is made-up of four integrated divisions with broad responsibilities; all divisions have homeland security as its top priority. On August 9, 2006, the Assistant Secretary for ICE announced that the agency added seven new "Fugitive Operations" teams to its nationwide operations. As a result, there are no 45 teams in service that are collectively making more than 1,000 illegal alien arrests a week. And, Wilner & O'Reilly, commends the government in its efforts to enforce our nations laws.
At the same time, we are committed to protecting our friends and family within the Filipino community. Thus, you should now that fugitive does not necessarily mean criminal. It primarily means people who were granted voluntary departure by immigration judges and never left. These are the people that the fugitive operations will be targeting. But, mark my words. When a certain group of people are targeted, it can and often will result in the arrest of others.
For example, imagine if a "fugitive" works at the same place you do and one of ICE's teams comes for her. You happen to be TNT and on the job-site when ICE agents arrive. You too would be questioned and perhaps arrested and placed into removal proceedings.
Should you be a bit scared? Probably. But, the purpose of this information is not designed to scare you our keep you up at night wondering if the knock at your door is immigration. Instead, like all our articles, it is designed to encourage; to encourage you to take a practical look at your present situation and credibly assess it to determine if there is anything that can be done about it. Perhaps you have a current priority date? Maybe your petitioner died and you didn't know that in some circumstances you still can use that petition? Does 245i apply to you? If so, what does that mean?
In making the announcement, Assistant Secretary Myers correctly noted that "the United States is a land of opportunity, but it is also a nation of laws. As such, an immigration judge's order of removal is not optional and must be followed. The addition of these new fugitive teams increases ICE's ability to aggressively pursue immigration violators as part of our nationwide interior enforcement strategy."
As noted above, we commend the brave men and women of ICE in their apprehension of fugitive aliens. At the same time, we remain committed to helping our friends and family within the Filipino community. To that end, don't be one of the approximate 1,000 illegal aliens that ICE is apprehending per week.