ICE officers arrest convicted sex offenders living on Long Island
More than two dozen convicted sex offenders living in Long Island communities were arrested by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers this week.
The crackdown by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) took 32 convicted sex offenders into custody.
ICE ERO Supervisor James Rothermel says he and his team target suspects facing deportation from the United States because they entered the country illegally or lost their green card or protected status due to conviction.
He says ICE's job is to get these people off the streets before they do any more harm to the community.
"We're going to do what we need to do to make sure we take these people into custody," Rothermel said.
After arrests are made, the suspects are brought to a processing center in Central Islip where they are photographed and fingerprinted.
They then may begin immigration proceedings and see an immigration judge.
Others have already had their due process. Some suspects were ordered to leave the country and failed to leave when they got that order. Others were deported and then came back.
One man who was arrested in Hicksville had legal permanent status that was revoked after his conviction for a criminal sex act with a 16-year-old male. He denies the accusations and doesn't know what he is going to do next.
"I'm worried about everything--I can't go back home," he said. "I've been here for 30 years and what am I going to do when I go back home there and how they're going to react with my charges and everything."
Rothermel says he is proud of the work they completed.
"I don't know anyone who would want a person in their community who has been charged with or convicted of a sexually based crime," Rothermel says.
ICE says it's been conducting these operations--directed specifically at sex offenders--about every two years.