NEWARK – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers separately arrested two aliens after they were released from the custody of Middlesex County. ICE previously lodged detainers on the two individuals while they were in the county’s custody, but the county failed to honor the requests.
On May 18, ICE lodged an immigration detainer on Aurelio Hernandez Cortez, a Mexican citizen, with the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Facility. On May 18, the facility released him from custody without notification to ICE. Hernandez Cortez currently has a pending criminal charge in Middlesex County.
On May 22, ICE lodged an immigration detainer on Maulik Gajjar, an Indian citizen, with the facility. On May 22, the correctional facility released him from custody without notification to ICE. Gajjar is currently facing state criminal charges.
On June 7, ERO Newark officers arrested Gajjar outside his residence in Iselin. The next day, ERO Newark officers arrested Hernandez Cortez outside his residence in Perth Amboy.
Neither Hernandez Cortez or Gajjar have lawful status in the United States, both will remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
“As a nation, we must protect the integrity of our immigration system and the removal of illegal aliens, especially those with a criminal history, this is one of ICE's top priorities,” said John Tsoukaris, ERO Newark field office director. “ICE shares the county's ultimate objective to protect public safety and national security while simultaneously preserving the critical community police bond. As such, county jails that fail to work with ICE put their communities at risk.”
In fiscal year 2016, ICE removed or returned 240,255 individuals. Of this total, 174,923 were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States. The remaining 65,332 were apprehended in the interior of the United States, and the vast majority were convicted criminals.