From the NY Times:
In a four-day immigration dragnet stretching from the suburbs north of New York City to eastern Long Island, federal law-enforcement officers arrested 54 illegal immigrants with criminal records who had previously been deported but had secretly re-entered the country, officials said Friday.
The tally was the largest number of once-deported immigrants ever ensnared in a single operation by immigration agents, said a spokesman in the New York office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
The roundup, which began on Monday and ended late Thursday, reflected a strategy shift by the Obama administration, which says it is focusing its enforcement efforts on catching and deporting immigrants who had been convicted of crimes or posed a national security threat. The announcement of that shift came after advocates for immigrants complained that government agents were more often sweeping up illegal immigrants with no criminal histories.
Immigration authorities announced last month that they had deported a record number of immigrants over the previous 12 months; more than 195,700 of the deportees, or about half of the total, were convicted criminals. By comparison, during the last fiscal year of the Bush administration, which ended in September 2008, about 32 percent of all deported immigrants were criminals.
John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the operation this week “underscores ICE’s commitment to strategic, sensible immigration enforcement that enhances public safety.”
“ICE will continue to target, arrest and remove those who come to this country to pursue a life of crime rather than the American dream,” he went on.
Federal agents made arrests in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens; in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island; and in Orange and Westchester Counties north of New York City, officials said. The suspects, most of whom were arrested at their homes, included citizens of the Bahamas, Belize, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and St. Kitts.