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ICE nabs 101 criminal aliens during 5-day sting in New Jersey

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 101 illegal immigrants during a five-day operation in New Jersey. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced Tuesday the arrests of 101 illegal immigrants as part of a five-day operation last week in New Jersey.

Of those arrested, 88 percent were convicted criminals and 80 percent had prior felony convictions.

The sting, spearheaded by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), targeted criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants, and immigration violators, and including immigrants convicted of sexual assault, domestic violence, distribution of narcotics and possession of child pornography, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement news release.

"The continued results of our Fugitive Operations officers and their law enforcement partners underscore ICE’s ongoing and steady commitment to public safety," said John Tsoukaris, field office director of ERO Newark. "As part of this operation, we continue [to] focus on the arrest of individuals who are criminal and are a threat to public safety and national security. Because of the tireless efforts of these professional officers, there are 101 fewer criminals in our communities."

The arrests come on the heels of ICE's announcement that it apprehended more than 310,000 illegal immigrants in 2017, a 40 percent spike over fiscal year 2016. Those included more than 101,000 administrative arrests by ICE, and 92 percent were reported to have a criminal conviction or a pending criminal charge, be an ICE fugitive or be an illegal re-entrant.

What type of prior convictions did those arrested commit?

Among those arrested were: A Mexican citizen convicted of sexual assault of a minor; a Turkish citizen convicted of possession of child pornography; a Dominican citizen convicted of cocaine distribution and possession, and a Colombian citizen convicted of aggravated battery and domestic violence assault.

What are the next steps in the battle against illegal immigration?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and newly confirmed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called for drastic immigration reform on Tuesday, just one day after the bumbled attack in New York City allegedly committed by a Bangladeshi immigrant, The Hill reported.

Sessions and Nielsen pitched a merit-based immigration system to replace the current family-centric system during a speech in Baltimore.

Sessions also said terrorism is bolstered by the Diversity Visa Program aka Diversity Lottery that grants up to 50,000 visas to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.

Suspect Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, who has been charged with the deadly attack in New York City that left eight dead last month, allegedly came to the U.S. through the Diversity Visa Program.

"These savage criminals in our communities in America are a deadly consequence of our open borders and failed immigration policies," Nielsen said, according to The Hill.

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