ICE round up of 'criminal aliens' doesn't stop critics

Thursday - 3/24/2011, 1:14am EDT

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

MANASSAS, Va. - More than 130 "criminal aliens" are behind bars after a three-day round up across northern Virginia, but the arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement with help from local police and the U.S. Marshal Service have not stopped the criticism of immigration enforcement or policy.

The roundups took place in 14 Virginia jurisdictions and included illegal immigrants who had been charged or convicted of crimes. At least 10 of those arrested had been previously deported and had re-entered the country.

"It's too little, too late," says Prince William Board Chairman Corey Stewart, a persistent critic of ICE.

"We've got several people who are dead because DHS has not done it's job," says Stewart, referring to the Department of Homeland Security which oversees ICE.

Stewart has long been critical of ICE. He ramped up his criticism after a nun died in a crash involving an illegal immigrant. Carlos Montano had been awaiting deportation at the time of the crash. He has been indicted on murder charges.

ICE Director John Morton says his agency deported 195,000 people last year, which he says is a new record.

"We deal with the immigration issues around the country. Prince William isn't the only county in the country in which immigration is a local issue," Mortan says.

The arrests, which took place Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week netted a total of 163 people. Of those, 138 were wanted for some sort of crime. Some were foreign nationals who were in the U.S. legally.

Those arrested came from 32 countries, including nations in Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean and Africa.

Sixty arrests, the most, took place in Fairfax County. There were 37 in Prince William County, 20 in Loudoun County and 13 in Alexandria, with the rest spread out over Northern Virginia and other nearby counties.

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