Federal officials said that 91 foreign nationals – including some with violent criminal records – were arrested in a five-day sweep across the state.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation netted an El Salvadoran national in West New York who was wanted on a warrant from international policing group Interpol for being a member of the MS-13 gang, and trafficking drugs and guns, ICE said Monday.
The roundup also included those with convictions for aggravated assault, child endangerment, criminal sexual contact, kidnapping, homicide, drug offenses and other crimes, officials said. About 70 of the people arrested were previously convicted of criminal offenses.
“This operation focuses on the arrest of individuals convicted of serious crimes and are a threat to public safety,” John Tsoukaris, field office director of Enforcement and Removal Operations for ICE in Newark, said in a statement. “Because of the targeted efforts of these professional officers, there are 91 fewer criminals in our communities.”
Nationals of Anguilla, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Korea, Macedonia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Poland, Spain, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Venezuela were arrested in the operation, according to ICE.
Arrests took place in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Passaic, Union, and Warren counties.
Those arrested will face proceedings before an immigration judge while others under a final order of removal will be deported from the country.
ICE has launched a series of immigration operations around the country, including another five-day sweep around New Jersey in April. The agency has faced criticism for arresting people who pose no danger and do not have criminal backgrounds.
The agency has said its operations focus on people who pose threats to national security, public safety and border security. Under the Trump Administration, ICE no longer exempts some from possible enforcement. Instead, anyone violating immigration laws could face being arrested, held and removed from the country.