ICE confirms 14 immigrant arrests in Garfield, Eagle counties

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 14 undocumented immigrants in operations in Garfield and Eagle counties this month.

An ICE spokesman Saturday confirmed that the agency’s officers made these arrests during “a routine immigration enforcement operation” from Aug. 13 to Aug. 16 in Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Carbondale, Eagle and Avon.

Of the 14 arrested by ICE, 13 were men and one was a woman, and they ranged from 19 to 49 years old, according to the agency. ICE officers arrested eight people from Mexico, two from Honduras, two from Guatemala, one from Brazil and one from El Salvador.

“Twelve of those arrested had convictions for crimes, such as burglary, driving under the influence and felony drug charges. One of the criminal aliens arrested was also a MS-13 gang member,” according to an ICE release.

In recent weeks, rumors of ICE arrests have swirled through the area, but the scope of the agency’s activity was unclear until now. Last week local immigration attorneys were hearing accounts of numerous ICE arrests in Garfield and Eagle counties. But even local law enforcement was unaware of the federal immigration officers’ operations. Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said this week that he had not heard about any ICE arrests and that the federal immigration officers must be conducting their operation quietly.

“ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. In keeping with these efforts, ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan has made it clear that ICE will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the country illegally,” wrote Carl Rusnok, ICE central region director of communications based out of Dallas.

Rusnok said that all of these operations are “targeted based on investigative leads” and are not random enforcement actions such as checkpoints.

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