ICE Goes After Illegal Aliens in Gangs

All have criminal histories and face deportation

Over two dozen gang members have been taken off Chicago streets, thanks to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The two-day sting that took place last week is part of an ongoing national initiative known as "Operation Community Shield."  It targeted foreign-born gang members and associates in Chicago and various suburbs. Officers made 19 arrests in Addison, Bensenville, Blue Island, Hanover Park, and Carpentersville, as well as Chicago.

Most of the arrested are from Mexico; one is from Guatemala, and another is from El Salvador. All of the arrestees are in ICE custody and face deportation. Only one of the 19 is a legal U.S. permanent resident, but his criminal convictions make him eligible for deportation.

Along with the 19 recently charged, six known gang members who were already jailed may be expelled from the United States. They will be turned over to federal authorities once their pending charges are resolved.

All 25 gang members and associates arrested or encountered in local jails have criminal histories.

"By partnering with local law enforcement, ICE is making great strides in combating gang activity in our communities," said James Gibbons, acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "ICE aggressively targets illegal alien gang members who instill fear in our neighborhoods through intimidation and violence."

More than 13,800 gang members have been arrested nationwide since Operation Community Shield began in 2005.

Matt Bartosik is the editor of Off the Rocks' next issue and a "between blogs" blogger.

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