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One-way ticket home on ‘ICE Air’

This photo comes from the second national wave of Operation Cross Check, an effort by ICE to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants with criminal records. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Released)

The 32 illegal immigrants caught in the latest sweep will be getting a ride back to their home countries courtesy of “ICE Air.”

Immigration officials said “Operation Crosscheck,” which netted suspects all over New England who were already ordered out of the country but still committed a crime, are all being flown home.

Some will be put on Boeing 737s owned and operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or similar jets chartered by ICE. A few others, an immigration official said, will be escorted on commercial flights by ICE agents.

“We call it ICE Air, similar to ‘Con Air,’” the official told the Herald Thursday following the announcement of the 32 illegal immigrants caught in the sting. “Con Air” was a popular movie starring Nicolas Cage, who plays a soon-to-be-paroled convict who helps quell an uprising on a prisoner transport plane.

An “ICE Air” flight leaves every week out of Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth, N.H. Trips are made to staging areas in Louisiana and Texas. Those being deported are then flown to Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Africa and elsewhere as needed, the official said.

Illegal immigrants being deported where ICE Air does not fly were taken to Iraq, Germany and Israel this week by ICE agents, the Herald was told.

It’s all part of the agency’s mission to deport accused and convicted criminals who are caught again after already being told they are in the country illegally.

Operation Crosscheck netted 32 such suspects during a five-day sweep in late May, said ICE New England spokesman John Mohan.

“This is a continuing operation focused on criminal aliens with a final order of removal in the last five years,” said acting ICE New England Field Office Director Marcos Charles.

Of those arrested, most were convicted criminals and 27 had been issued a final order of removal and failed to leave the country, and two had been previously deported.

According to ICE, some of those caught included:

A 45-year-old from Vietnam arrested in Boston. He had a conviction for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

A 31-year-old from Kenya tracked down in Lowell, with convictions for assault and battery and fraud.

A 32-year-old from the Dominican Republic found in Bridgeport, Conn., with three convictions for identity theft and credit card fraud.

A 32-year-old from Cape Verde busted in Brockton with convictions for armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. He also had a charge of possession to distribute fentanyl on his record.

Operation Crosscheck started in New England and is being rolled out nationwide, said Charles.

“The lack of support from local law enforcement organizations and the political climate is making it more difficult,” Charles added Thursday. “But every criminal alien we arrest makes our communities safer.”


© 2019 the Boston Herald

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.