South Bay Illegal Immigrants Re-Arrested Shortly After Jail Release

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Dozens of illegal immigrants recently released from jail in Santa Clara County have been re-arrested by federal immigration officials.

As part of a four-day enforcement operation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 63 people, including 55 convicted criminal aliens, in San Jose last week. The operation was carried out by agents from the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, or ERO, field offices.

Timothy Aitken, director of the San Francisco ERO field office, said that the operation “underscores ICE’s ongoing commitment to focus on the arrest and removal of criminal aliens and others who pose a potential danger to the community.”

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Of those arrested, 55 had prior convictions for offenses including selling heroin and amphetamines, child molestation, and spousal abuse, according to ICE. Eight of those arrested during the operation face possible prosecution by the U.S. Attorney. The largest number of convictions — 18 — involve driving under the influence, according to ICE.

However, immigration activists said that the raids are tearing families apart.

”Immigrants totally add to our community and they should not be targeted,” said resident Donna Walick to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “There are no statistics that say that immigrants commit more crime than non-immigrants.”

A 29-year-old Mexican national with prior convictions for kidnapping and cocaine possession and a 49-year-old Mexican national convicted this year of child molestation are among those arrested.

The suspects are being processed for removal from the country, ICE said. Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally are facing immediate deportation and the rest will be scheduled for a hearing before an immigration judge, according to ICE.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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