INS concerned about crime committed by illegal aliens in Utah

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    By BEVERLY BEAL

    Immigration and Naturalization Services has reported that the number of illegal immigrants committing criminal offenses in Utah has doubled since 1996 and is a growing concern among government officials.

    “Basically, we want to rid our communities of criminal aliens. It is our top priority,” said Mark Vincent, Assistant United States Attorney for the district of Utah.

    Immigration issues have come to the forefront of media attention lately because of a recent incident in Kanab.

    Police officers there uncovered 18 illegal aliens being smuggled into the United States in a van on Sunday.

    “Some of them said that they were going north to Provo and the Salt Lake City area,” said Kevin Glazner, Supervisory Special Agent of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in an Associated Press release.

    The aliens crossed the border at Douglas, Arizona and were coming from Guadalajara, Mexico. Every person paid between $1,000 and $1,100 for passage into the country, Glazner said.

    The group did not enter the United States together, but arrived to the same house. The aliens did not have a valid I.D. except for Mexican identification cards and they did not speak English. Eleven of the 18 decided to return to their home country and the others requested a deportation hearing and are being detained, according to the Associated Press.

    The INS is responsible for handling the rising number of illegal immigrants coming to Utah that are involved in criminal activities.

    “This state has a very lucrative criminal enterprise and has a lot of users of controlled substances, and illegal aliens are the suppliers,” said Wayne Kirkpatrick, Supervisory Special Agent of the INS.

    Most of the criminals are arrested for narcotic offenses, he said.

    “They are mainly street level drug dealers, but also, criminal aliens commit rape, murder, domestic abuse and so on,” said Kirkpatrick

    Vincent said that the aliens themselves are often victimized.

    “Criminal aliens tend to prey on other illegal aliens because they would not report it, for a fear or deportation,” he said.

    Kirkpatrick said that illegal aliens from 30-32 countries were arrested last year and almost 94 percent came from Mexico.

    INS succeeded in apprehending almost 1300 illegal immigrants involved in criminal activity in Utah in 1999 and there are over 800 aliens serving time with an average sentence of 4-6 years.

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