Fifty foreign nationals have been arrested in several cities across the U.S. in raids this week by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on suspicion of human rights violations.
ICE says the “Operation No Safe Haven II” involved arrests in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, St. Paul and Washington. All the individuals taken into custody have outstanding removal orders and are subject to deportation, the agency says. It says 10 of them are also convicted criminals.
“This operation more than doubled the number of known or suspected human rights violators arrested during the first nationwide ‘Operation No Safe Haven,’ which took place in September 2014,” ICE said in a statement.
ICE says among those arrested are one individual from South America “who assisted for many years in interrogations involving shock torture and who beat prisoners.”
Another from Central America had been convicted of multiple felony drug-related charges and “who served as a military police officer for several years and turned over victims to a regime perpetrating documented human rights violations.”
One from East Africa engaged in torture as an intelligence officer of a regime that committed human rights violations and another from the former Yugoslavia “who arrested and interrogated victims on behalf of a paramilitary organization dedicated to ethnic cleansing.”
An individual from Asia who performed forced sterilizations was also arrested.
The arrests were a result of the agency’s Human Rights Violators & War Crimes Unit, which has arrested more than 275 individuals for human rights-related violations since 2004.
In March, NPR’s Brian Naylor did this profile on the special unit.