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12/19: ICE makes largest repatriation flight to Africa in two years
Released 23 December 2006  By U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Press Release

ICE makes largest repatriation flight to Africa in two years
Nearly 100 Nigerians and Liberians removed

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Press Release
December 19, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. - This weekend U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers returned from their largest deportation flight to Africa in two years after repatriating 99 Nigerian and Liberian nationals. This was a joint charter removal flight conducted with the government of Canada.

More than 60 of the aliens removed on the flight had criminal records, including prior convictions involving drug smuggling, possession with intent to distribute drugs, weapons violations, sexual assault on children, burglary, and bribery. The group included 17 Nigerians with forgery and fraud convictions.

The flight, using chartered commercial aircraft and staffed by officers of the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations, removed from the United States a total of 82 Nigerians and 17 Liberians. The individuals had been housed at various detention facilities across the country and were staged at the Batavia Federal Detention Facility shortly before the flight. Eight of the Nigerians were deportees from Canada. Escorting officers from Canada accompanied the flight.

“Many of the aliens removed on this flight are people who had been preying on innocent victims in our communities,” said William Cleary, field office director for ICE detention and removal operations in Buffalo. “While America is a welcoming country, ICE is committed to ensuring public safety and national security by removing convicted felons from our prison systems and removing those who illegally entered our country.”

In fiscal year 2006, ICE removed more than 186,600 illegal aliens from the country, a record for the agency and a ten percent increase over the number of removals during the prior fiscal year. More than 50,000 of those aliens were repatriated to foreign countries also using the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS ) .

ICE manages alien transportation and repatriation flights via Special Charter Missions and JPATS. JPATS is a Dept. of Justice program that services the client agencies of ICE, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Prisons, with ICE being the largest client, utilizing over 65% of JPATS' flight hours.

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