ICE: 3,000 criminal illegal immigrants arrested

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FLORIDA - There was a nationwide roundup of criminals in the country illegally,  U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement agents said on Monday.

Dozens of the arrests happened in Florida, agents said.

The sweep was called Operation Cross Check, and WFTV was told it was one of the biggest operations in the agency's history.

The operation lasted six days and ended on Thursday. 

During that time, agents said they arrested 3,000 illegal immigrants across the country. They said 271 of those arrests were in Florida. Also, 51 of those were in Central Florida, 29 in Orlando, and six were sex offenders, including a 61-year-old man from Columbia who was convicted of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child.

"Anytime you're dealing with convicted sex offenders, getting them anytime off the streets and out of the neighborhoods is an important goal for us," said Deputy Director Michael Meade.

Agents said that every person arrested wasn't just in the country illegally, they had also been convicted of a crime. 

A spokesperson for ICE said the crimes included DUIs, assaults, robbery and murder. 

Now, all of the people rounded up will be deported. 

ICE said it is staffed and funded to remove 400,000 illegal immigrants from the country per year.

There are more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants in Florida, officials said.

"Our goal is not to go and get the first 400,000 we find, but to prioritize them to the ones that are creating the most danger in society," said Meade.

Due to privacy laws, the identities of the people were not released.