BOSTON - A blitz by federal agents during the last three weeks captured nearly 2,100 illegal immigrants across the country in raids targeting child molesters, violent gang members and past deportees who re-entered the country.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials credited the roundup to a network of 35 fugitive apprehension teams.
"This is a massive operation," said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for immigration enforcement or ICE, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. "We are watching the country's borders from the inside.
The crackdown, dubbed "Operation Return to Sender," kicked off May 26. An Associated Press reporter and photographer accompanied a fugitive task force as it made raids Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
A swarm of immigration agents had sped silently, headlights off, down a Boston side street and surrounded an apartment house.
"Police! Policia! Police!" Monico yelled, holding his badge to a window where someone had pulled back the curtain. "Open the door!"
Soon agents led a dazed-looking Jose Ferreira Da Silva, 35, out in handcuffs. The Brazilian had been arrested in 2002 and deported, but had slipped back into the country. He now faces up to 20 years in prison.
"This sends a message," said Daniel Monico, a deportation officer, after a successful raid early Wednesday. "When we deport you, we're serious."
The operation has caught more than 140 immigrants with convictions for sexual offenses against children; 367 known gang members, including street soldiers in the deadly Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13; and about 640 people who had already been deported once, immigration officials said. The numbers include more than 720 arrests in California alone.
More than 800 people arrested already have been deported.
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OK so only 2,100 people that's it? your telling me that out of some 11-12 million illegals they could only get that many, are you kidding me! What about all of the illegals that are still sitting in our jails? Hell go to any major city and go look in the kitchens of the restaurants downtown and you will find more than 2,000 illegals!! Am I alone in this? Am I missing something? Did the bus leave and I wasn't on it or what! If this government is serious about this problem they will allow the troops to secure the border and shut it down completely, which they are more than capable of doing, please let them do it, before this invasion is complete.