DALLAS, Texas, CMC – Five Caribbean nationals were among 40 immigration status violators, visa overstays and foreign students arrested in two southern states and set for deportation from the US for violating the terms of their non-immigrant visas, US immigration authorities have said.
They said the arrests were made by special agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency during a 12-day dragnet that ended in early June. A life ban may be imposed on some of the alleged offenders returning to the US for impersonating American citizens.
The five Caribbean people were identified only by nationality – two Grenadians and a national each of Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica, ICE said.
ICE said the arrests of 21 men and 19 women were “part of a national programme designed to prevent terrorists and other criminals from exploiting the nation’s immigration system.
“The 9/11 tragedy identified how critically important it is for us to screen, track and enforce the student visa programme in the United States,” said David M Marwell, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Dallas.
“Maintaining the integrity of the student visa programme is a significant segment of maintaining national security,” added Marwell, who oversees 128 counties in north Texas and the state of Oklahoma.
Apart from four Caribbean nations, ICE said those arrested are from 17 countries, including six in Africa, four in the Middle East and South Asia and one European nation, Spain.
ICE said the 40 arrested were found in Edmond, Oklahoma, and a dozen north Texas cities, including Wichita Falls, Lubbock, Amarillo, Abilene and Dallas.
“All have been processed for immigration removal proceedings,” the statement said.
In addition to their immigration violations, ICE said three of those arrested falsely claimed US citizenship, “which is a felony and results in being permanently barred from legally re-entering the United States.”