ICE arrests 40 in Connecticut

In a four-day operation that kicked off last Friday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 45 undocumented residents in Massachusetts and Connecticut, including two in New Haven.

ICE officers in the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested the 45 individuals, 40 of them Connecticut residents, as part of “Operation Threats Against the Community,” which targeted convicted criminals, according to a Wednesday afternoon ICE press release. The arrests come after last Wednesday’s statewide rollout of Secure Communities, an ICE program that seeks to deport criminals residing in the country illegally.

“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ERO’s ongoing commitment to public safety,” ERO Boston field office director Dorothy Herrera-Niles said in the press release. “Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ERO officers — along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners — there are fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods.”

According to the press release, “numerous” law enforcement agencies throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut assisted ERO in making the arrests.

When reached Wednesday evening, City Hall spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton ’04 said the city had only learned of the arrests several hours before ICE announced the news to the press. New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Benton said it was too early to comment on the arrests or whether they were related to Secure Communities, which city and police officials have denounced as harmful to community policing efforts in the past several weeks.

The arrests were made as part of ICE’s “Criminal Alien Program,” ICE spokesman Ross Feinstein told the New Haven Independent Wednesday. Those arrested will be held at an ICE detention facility pending deportation proceedings before an immigration judge, he added.

Of the 45 people arrested, 24 had felony histories and 18 had multiple convictions, including prior charges for assault and battery of a child, sexual assault, possessing and selling drugs, drunk driving and larceny.

This is the second time in five years ICE has made arrests in New Haven after city officials openly opposed federal immigration policy.

In 2007, the Board of Aldermen approved a plan to issue identification cards to city residents, regardless of immigrant status, that would allow them to borrow library books, pay parking meters and open bank accounts. The cards — popular within New Haven but criticized nationally as overly friendly to illegal immigrants — protected New Haven’s estimated 10,000 to 15,000 undocumented residents, who had been targets of robberies due to their inability to deposit money.

Two days after the Board passed the Elm City Resident Card plan, ICE agents raided Fair Haven, home to the majority of the city’s undocumented residents, and detained 29 individuals the agency claimed were in the country illegally. ICE officials denied the resident card plan’s passage and the raids were connected, calling the agency’s actions “routine.”

More recently, city officials have criticized ICE’s Secure Communities program, which will collect suspected criminals’ fingerprints from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and check them against ICE’s database in an effort to deport criminals living in the country illegally.

“Secure Communities is a misguided and mishandled program that will neither make New Haven more secure nor a stronger community,” Benton said on Feb. 21. “Secure Communities will harm community policing efforts in New Haven to build trust between immigrant communities and the police department.”

ICE launched Secure Communities in Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland last Wednesday, and the program will become mandatory nationwide by 2013.


  • The Anti-Yale

    “there are fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods.”

    CRIMINAL aliiens?

    What does this modifier mean?

    That they have a police record and are also aliens?

    I doubt it. It means that being unregistered aliens they have already been tried and convicted by being unable to produce a green card.

    I thought people were PRESUMED INNOCENT until proven guilty.

    And BTW, what is the “crime” they might subsequently be found to have committed?
    Violated the politically manipulated immigration laws of the United States.?

    The one of the greatest crimes in the Old testament is the crime of INHOSPITALITY.

    I would suggest that we, the citizens who permit the scandalous manipulation of immigration laws to satisfy narrow-minded, bigoted political constituencies, WE are the ones guilty of committing CRIME.

    The Old Testament crime of inhospitality.

    Paul D. Keane

    M. Div. ’80, etc.

  • alum2001

    Hey Paul Keane, I have a better idea! Why don’t we just invite the 1 billion+ people in this world who live on a dollar a day to come into our country? Better yet, into New Haven! We are such a welcoming community. Wouldn’t it be “inhospitable” to do otherwise?

    And for good measure, let’s house as many as we can on your street! I’m sure you’d be a great neighbor to the thronging masses of poor and uneducated, and you can show them all the “hospitality” you want. That’ll teach those bigoted politicians!

    • GlobalArts

      hey alum 2001: fyi – your contemptuous sarcasm is not helping you

  • alum2001

    And Paul Keane – because you have such difficulty wrapping your hospitale, empathetic mind around the fact that immigrants might POSSIBLY be criminals – you may have missed a key line:

    “Of the 45 people arrested, 24 had felony histories and 18 had multiple convictions, including prior charges for assault and battery of a child, sexual assault, possessing and selling drugs, drunk driving and larceny.”

    Look forward to these people getting deported ASAP!

  • River_Tam

    > What does this modifier mean? That they have a police record and are also aliens?

    That’s exactly what it means.

  • The Anti-Yale

    I stand corrected. Twenty-four of forty have been convicted of a crime. And the reason we are riveted to the 24 instead of the sixteen is ???????????????



  • alum2001

    No idea what “riveted to the 24 instead of the 16 means,” but deporting convicted felons who are already in the US illegally is a no-brainer. New Haven is a better, safer place without these criminals in our community.

    Question, PK: Why are you so hung up on racism? Is it not possible that a brown-skinned person can be guilty of a crime, and should therefore have to face appropriate legal consequecnes?

  • The Anti-Yale

    I didn’t know I had mentioned “race” in this thread. A Frenchman could be an illegal alien, or a Britisher.


    “Hung-up” on race? I don’t know:maybe 12 million slaves has something to do with it.

  • yaylie

    Why is it only the second time in 5 years that ICE comes to enforce the federal immigration law in New Haven? Is illegal immigration not a problem in New Haven?

  • DocHollidaye

    This is a serious issue. We have many levels that are not fully understood and appreciated here.

    Let’s trade places for a minute with those who are victims. Say an occupying party that pushes drugs as a mainstream business takes over your government, now they are your government. Anything you do to oppose them is considered a violation of their law; a law under a regime that should by all accounts be illegal because in reality they are the outlaws not the little powerless citizens they prey upon.

    Next you find that you have a criminal record that could in fact be contrived by a ruling criminal element. What would you do? Wouldn’t you want to flee? Or would you cave in and help them promote their billion dollar a year business?

    Compelling questions? Let’s assume that you are the one who flees. But now you are not wanted because you have a criminal record that was hung around your neck, you are not a citizen but you desire protection, solace, just a place where you can get away from a large criminal faction.

    What do you do?

    I’m not suggesting that all illegal aliens in this country are innocent, but we create a much larger problem by leaving them on the side of the road handicapped waiting for the first exploitative crime family to force them to do their bidding just to keep their lives or feed their families.

    We throw the term “criminal” around loosely and with a great deal of indignity and yet that term has been applied to many great historical figures. So perhaps we should think deeper of who that term represents we may just find that we are actually putting people amongst good company.

    A rancher once said that in order to keep his sheep from getting stolen he painted them all orange. If you dress your enslaved citizens in orange who will want them?

    But just because you have dressed them in orange does not mean the cover is indicative of the book.

    We need to think this through more deeply before we pass a judgement. Sometimes people are forced to leave their countries for reasons we may not fully understand until we have walked a mile or two in their shoes.

    Once we change the glasses we are viewing our facts through we just might change our perspective.