If you're an illegal immigrant with a criminal record living in Houston, you can breathe easy. Or relatively easy, anyway.
A big statewide round-up aimed at people like you -- the largest such round-up in state history -- ended last night. So if you can lay low and live with your conscience, you should be okay.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced this morning that 284 foreign nationals with criminal records had been arrested in the three-day sweep dubbed Operation Crosscheck, no doubt in honor of the U.S. Olympic Hockey team as it goes for the gold.
"Those who come to the United States to prey upon our neighbors and communities will be
prosecuted for their crimes and ultimately returned to their home countries. The results of this week's operation demonstrate ICE's commitment to that principle," ICE's John Morton said.
Houston racked up some serious stats in the operation. ICE says 59 were arrested here -- more than one-fifth of the state's total.
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Of the 284 arrested, nearly 160 foreign nationals have violent criminal histories -- such as homicide, assault and robbery -- and more than 20 have convictions for sexual offenses. Of the total arrested, 18 have already been removed from the country. The arrestee totals include, 259 men and 25 women, representing more than 22 different nations, including countries in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
In Houston, 55 men and five women were arrested, from 12 different nations.
ICE said 23 of those arrested face charges of illegally re-entering the U.S. after being formally deported, which can carry a 20-year prison term.