GREEN BAY – Dozens of people who weren’t supposed to be in our area soon no longer will be.
Thirty-one people, suspected of being in the United States illegally, were arrested over the weekend in an effort led by federal agents. The arrests include 30 men and one woman. They either had criminal convictions or returned to the U.S. after being deported.
They were found in seven communities: Green Bay, Greenleaf, Manitowoc, Seymour, Grand Chute, Appleton and Menasha.
The recent arrests are part of an ongoing operation throughout the entire state, according to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement team, or ICE.
“All 31 have prior criminal convictions that range from battery, burglary, drugs, domestic abuse,” said Gail Montenegro, public affairs officer with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
FOX 11 asked ICE for the names of the people arrested and where they took place but officials are not releasing that information.
Of those arrested, 27 were from Mexico, two were from Honduras, one from El Salvador and one from Russia.
“Some of the individuals arrested were also immigration fugitives. That means they were ordered deported by a federal immigration judge and they did not comply,” Montenegro said.
ICE says and eight of those arrested were deported from the U.S. and then came back illegally.
“I’m kind of shocked. I’m just really upset,” said Gabriela Gamboa.
Gamboa is president of the Hispanic Community Council of Northeast Wisconsin.
She says not all of the individuals arrested are criminals.
“They’re our neighbors, they’re our friends, they’re people who go to church with us. These are people who help in the community. I know a guy who was helping the community. He was helping me at the organization and I’m like, ‘seriously they took him?’ That’s not fair. They came to this country just to be helpful to their families. I’m not saying all of them, most of them,” Gamboa said.
However, ICE says the arrests are not random.
“Based on the information that we have, we start doing an investigation and surveillance and we determine that these individuals fall within our enforcement priorities. They are here illegally and they have committed numerous crimes,” Montenegro said.