Alien Removals Increase by 12,000; Fugitive Alien Apprehensions Climb
The removal of criminal and other illegal aliens from the United States reached
record levels, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today,
with 157,281 aliens total removed in Fiscal Year 2004. In addition, ICE recorded
a sizable increase in apprehensions under a new program specifically targeting
ICE’s Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO), responsible for
removals of aliens, credited the fiscal year increases with the agency’s
more aggressive focus on targeting criminal and fugitive aliens – those
who pose the most serious risks to public safety and national security. As the
largest investigative agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS),
ICE is responsible for the enforcement of the nation’s immigration and customs
"Removing criminal aliens and other illegal aliens from the United States
is critical to the integrity of our immigration system and important to the safety
of our communities," said DHS Assistant Secretary for ICE, Michael J. Garcia.
"The 9/11 Commission Report details how our immigration system was exploited
by terrorists, and we know that other dangerous criminals have sought illegal
entry by similar means. We are bringing to bear the full force of our authorities
to locate and remove those in the country illegally."
Nearly 53 percent of those removed were criminal aliens – that is, aliens
who are eligible for removal based upon a criminal conviction in the United States.
ICE removals of criminal aliens reached 82,802 in FY04, an increase of 6.6 percent
over the previous fiscal year. Removals of non-criminal aliens increased by over
10 percent to 74,479.
ICE also noted significant gains in apprehending and deporting fugitive aliens
– individuals who were ordered deported from the United States but who failed
to report for removal – under the National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP).
From March 1 through Sept. 30, 2003, when ICE began tracking fugitive apprehensions,
DRO apprehended 3,409 fugitives with final orders of removal. By comparison, in
the same seven-month period of FY04, DRO apprehended 7,239 fugitives with final
orders of removal, an increase of 112 percent over the FY03 period. Total FY04
apprehensions of fugitives were 11,063.