‘Cross Check’ immigration operations conducted half a dozen times in recent years

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U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, confirmed Friday afternoon that federal immigration officials are conducting a specialized operation in the Austin area and beyond to capture unauthorized immigrants with criminal records.

Federal immigration officials told Castro that the program is called “Operation Cross Check,” Castro said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have conducted operations with the same name half a dozen times across the nation in recent years.

For example, a 2015 ICE operation dubbed “Cross Check” led to the arrests of 2,059 unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. who had been convicted of crimes in the past, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The operation took place from March 1-5, 2015 and targeted people who had been convicted of crimes.

Those arrested during that operation included a Polish citizen in East Hartford, Conn., who was convicted for reckless driving and twice for drug possession and a Mexican citizen arrested in Arvada, Colo., who was a documented member of the Sureños criminal street gang and was convicted in 2014 of possession of a weapon, Department of Homeland Security information shows.

The first nationwide “Cross Check” operation occurred at the end of May 2011 and resulted in 2,442 arrests, the Department of Homeland Security reported. The last Cross Check operation in August 2013 resulted in the arrest of 1,660 people.

“All targets of this operation fell within the top two priorities established in Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s Nov. 20 (2014) memorandum entitled ‘Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants,'” the Department of Homeland Security said in a 2015 statement. “Priority 1 targets include threats to national security, criminal street gang members, convicted felons and aggravated felons. Priority 2 targets have convictions for three or more misdemeanors or convictions for significant misdemeanors, including DUIs.”

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