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HOUSTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Houston Field Office apprehended 18 unlawfully present noncitizens residing in the Houston area who have previously been convicted of DWI during a recent immigration enforcement operation aimed at bolstering public safety.

The fugitive operations initiative, dubbed “Operation Secure Streets,” took place in the Houston area from Sept. 12 – 30, and targeted unlawfully present noncitizens who have previously been convicted of a DWI with certain aggravating factors or criminal histories, such as multiple DWIs; felony DWIs; DWIs resulting in bodily injury, property damage or death; and DWIs with other felony convictions.

“The 18 unlawfully present noncitizens apprehended in the Houston area during the operation account for a combined total of 46 DWIs, with one individual having been convicted seven times for driving while he was intoxicated,” said Matt Baker, acting field office director for the ICE ERO Houston Field Office. “That kind of callous disregard for public safety puts the lives of everyone in our community in danger. By conducting a targeted public safety-focused immigration enforcement operation like this, we are able to hone in on those unlawfully present individuals who present the gravest threat to the public and at the same time fulfill our critical mission to uphold our nation’s immigration laws.”

During the operation, ICE leveraged a multi-step, phased approach to ensure uniformity and consistency in identifying and prioritizing targets that presented the most significant and immediate threat to the public.

Among those arrested were:

  • A 37-year-old previously removed Salvadoran national and documented MS-13 gang member who had been convicted of two DWIs. The individual was apprehended in Houston and remains in ICE custody pending disposition of their immigration proceedings.
  • A 54-year-old previously removed Mexican national convicted of seven prior DWIs. The individual was apprehended in Liberty, Texas, and removed to Mexico on Sept. 23.
  • A 37-year-old four-time previously removed Mexican national who had been convicted three times for illegally entering the U.S., twice for DWI, and once for a weapons offense. The individual was apprehended in Houston and is currently charged with illegal re-entry. The individual remains in ICE custody pending disposition of his criminal and immigration proceedings.
  • A 42-year-old Salvadoran national convicted of two DWIs and for fleeing the scene of an accident that he caused while he was intoxicated. The individual was apprehended in Houston and remains in ICE custody pending disposition of his immigration proceedings.

According to the latest figures published by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 11,654 people were killed in the U.S. in 2020 in accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver. The NHTSA estimates that approximately one person is killed every 45 minutes and 32 people are killed every day from an accident involving a drunk driver.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, ERO arrested 12,025 individuals across the nation with aggravated felony convictions. Offenses associated with noncitizens arrested in FY 2021 included 1,506 homicide related offenses, 3,415 sexual assaults, 19,549 assaults, 2,717 robberies, and 1,063 kidnappings.

Regardless of nationality, ICE makes custody determinations on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with U.S. law and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy, considering the individual merits and factors of each case. ICE officers make associated decisions in a professional and responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement officials and in a way that best protects against the greatest threats to the homeland, applying prosecutorial discretion when making such decisions as do law enforcement officers in different agencies and offices throughout the nation.

Members of the public can report crime and suspicious activity by calling 1-866-347-2423 or completing the online tip form.

ICE breaking news ICE Houston apprehends 18 noncitizens with prior DWI convictions during national public safety-focused immigration enforcement operation Government Agency News