WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Law enforcement agencies arrested 130 foreign nationals with criminal records in a three-day operation in northern Virginia, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on Wednesday.
In total, authorities arrested 163 people, 130 of whom had prior convictions, eight of whom were fugitives, and 22 of whom were non-criminal immigrants, ICE said in a statement.
The agency says that for two consecutive years it has removed more aliens than were removed in fiscal year 2008, and that in fiscal year 2010 half of those removed, or over 195,000, were convicted criminals.
"We are a nation with a proud history of immigration. If you come here lawfully, work hard, and play by the rules, the United States welcomes you with open arms," an ICE statement quoted Director John Morton as saying.
"For those who come here unlawfully and commit crimes at the expense of their neighbors and their communities, we will not rest until we find you and send you home."
Those arrested come from 32 nations around the world.
(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton)