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ICE arrests more than 2,000 illegal immigrants in nationwide sweep

The Associated Press

HOUSTON- U.S. immigration officers have arrested more than 2,000 illegal immigrants in a nationwide sweep, officials announced Wednesday.

In a blitz that began May 26, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 2,179 illegal immigrant gang members, pedophiles, violent felons and others who have sneaked back in the country after being deported.

About half the immigrants arrested in "Operation Return to Sender" have criminal records, said Julie Myers, assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

More than 360 were members or associates of violent gangs, including the notorious Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, she said.

Myers said most of those arrested had been placed in deportation proceedings, and 829 had already been sent home, while 121 arrested on criminal charges would be sent through the federal court system.

"America's welcome does not extend to immigrants who come here to commit crimes," Myers said. "ICE will leave no stone unturned in hunting down and deporting aliens who victimize our communities."

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