Immigration Officials Arrest Nearly 300 Convicted Criminals

119 illegal immigrants with criminal conviction in North Texas taken into custody

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    Federal officials have arrested hundreds of illegal immigrants with criminal records.

    Federal officials said hundreds of illegal immigrants with criminal records are off Texas streets.

    The arrests were part of Operation Cross Check, the biggest operation U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has launched in the state. The largest number of arrests in the three-day operation were in the Metroplex.

    Nearly 300 Illegal Immigrants With Convictions Arrested

    [DFW] Nearly 300 Illegal Immigrants With Convictions Arrested
    Federal officials have arrested hundreds of illegal immigrants with criminal records. (Published Friday, Feb 26, 2010)

    "Let me tell you, these are not people that we want walking out on the streets here in Texas or living in our communities," said John Morton, assistant secretary of homeland security for ICE said Friday. "Criminals such as murderers, 35 individuals convicted of assault, 26 sex offenders."

    ICE officers arrested 284 criminals total across the state, 119 of whom were taken into custody in North Texas.

    "I won't pretend to say that there are only 284 criminal offenders in the state of Texas," Morton said. "We have a very large criminal alien program. We removed 137,000 criminal aliens from the United States last year. I expect that number to increase."

    About half had violent crime or drug convictions, the Dallas Morning News reported. And most of the convictions were in the United States, the newspaper reported.

    Morton said that while illegal immigrants serving time in state and federal prisons are usually deported after serving their sentences, municipal and county jails have gaps, the Dallas Morning News reported.

    Of the 284 arrested, 259 are men and 25 are women. They come from 22 different nations, including countries in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa

    About 35 of the 284 arrested are were deported in the past, but re-entered the country illegally. They will face federal charges with penalties of up to 20 years in prison.

    NBCDFW's Lita Beck contributed to this report.