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ICE official wants to set record straight on enforcement operations

(Photo courtesy Albert Carter)

PHOENIX — Immigration officers are targeting undocumented immigrants who commit serious crimes and are “very well aware” of the consequences their enforcement operations are having on the families of those arrested, an official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Phoenix said.

“It would be nice for the community to realize that our officers are part of the same communities,” Albert Carter, acting field office director for ICE enforcement removal operations in Phoenix, told reporters Friday.

“The human factor is not lost on our officers,” he said. “To include myself, we all understand the repercussions of an individual being arrested. But I would say that holds true for any other individual that’s arrested.”

Carter said he wants to set the record straight on what ICE officers do on a daily basis and highlight the “great work” they do. Just last week, they arrested two sex offenders who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl in the Valley.

“Those two individuals are off the street now and our communities are safer for it,” he said.

Carter added he wants to debunk misconceptions people have of ICE officers. He said one of the biggest ones is that they conducts raids.

“We conduct targeted enforcement operations,” he said. “A raid implies to me that we’re just out willy-nilly picking up individuals. That’s not the case. We have a finite amount of resources to focus on targeting certain individuals.”

Carter said ICE officers target individuals who’ve been convicted of a crime, have been removed and re-entered the country illegally or didn’t show up to a court hearing. He said they also go after those they have probable cause to believe are undocumented.

“The misconception as well is … that ICE needs a judicial warrant signed before they can affect an arrest,” Carter said. “That couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

ICE officers can arrest someone if they have an administrative warrant that is signed by a supervisory immigration officer. However, they need a search warrant issued by a court to enter a home or business.

Carter also pushed back on complaints about mistreatment by ICE officers.

“Individuals in the custody of ICE are treated humanely,” he said. “They’re treated with dignity and respect.”

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