What Will Happen to the Legal Immigrants ICE Has Netted?

November 2010

"A lot of people don't like me enforcing immigration laws or going after corruption," Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio tells Talking Points Memo. "We're not stopping." TPM caught up with Arizona's most infamous law enforcement official after discovering that he'd soon be joined in his immigrant-roundup efforts by the Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) and Steven Seagal.

Federal immigration officials in Colorado and Wyoming don't have such celebrity status, but that didn't stop them from netting 85 immigrants in a recent four-day sting. Targeting immigrants with supposed criminal records, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested the vast majority in Colorado (and most of them at their homes), according to The Associated Press.

While many were wanted for serious crimes and in the United States illegally, ICE also netted legal, permanent U.S. residents, reports 7News, including a 42-year-old man with convictions for possessing or selling an illegal switchblade knife, domestic violence, drunken driving, and possession of cocaine for sale. He could be deported to Mexico despite his status as a permanent U.S. resident. Other arrestees had already been deported and now face felonies that carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Seventy-three of those arrested were men, and 12 were women. Sixty-six came from Mexico, seven from El Salvador, five from Honduras, and others from Poland, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Uganda, South Korea, and Mongolia, notes the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

It's unclear what will happen to the residents snared in the sweep, although a 2001 Supreme Court ruling "affirmed the right of legal immigrants to have their cases reviewed by a court before facing deportation," according to a 2001 release from the American Civil Liberties Union.