ICE Air a one-way ticket for illegal immigrant deportees

You don’t need a reservation on ICE Air, but it’s a one-way flight.

Jairo Soares-Pereira, 37, found that out earlier this month when he was arrested in Malden and quickly flown — via ICE Air — to Brazil to serve out his three-year sentence for fraud.

“Perpetrators of these type of crimes care very little about the havoc they cause to the victims involved,” said Todd Lyons, a top immigration official based out of Boston.

Lyons, field office director for Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), said “law enforcement partners” at home and abroad helped send this convicted fraudster back to Brazil.

A charter flight coordinated by ICE’s Air Operations Unit flew Soares-Pereira to Tancredo Neves International Airport in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Interpol lists 7,016 “red notices” as of Friday for illegal immigrants who are wanted back in their home countries to serve prison sentences or stand trial for crimes — and “may pose a threat to public safety” if left on the run.

Some of the “red notices” posted include aggravated murder, rape, sexual abuse, sexual abuse of a child; a Chinese national wanted for forgery, embezzlement, swindling and violating the U.S. timber act; a Russian national wanted for blackmail and computer sabotage.

The list is a who’s who of international hot spots from South America to Europe and Africa and the Middle East.

Other countries are seeking these suspects and ICE Air is used, the feds tell the Herald, to fly them there first, also.

ICE Air is used “to facilitate the movement of noncitizens within the United States and the removal of noncitizens to destinations worldwide,” an immigration official said. Charter and commercial flights are used.

“Since 2006, (ICE) has transferred and/or removed hundreds of thousands” of illegal immigrants from the U.S., federal officials said. Soares-Pereira happened to be the most recent one and he flew out via a commercial airline.

ICE Air states it uses Boeing 737s for “domestic international removals” and Boeing 767 and 777 aircraft for “special high-risk charters.” Most Mexican illegal immigrants, ICE adds, are usually flown by commercial flights to San Diego or Brownsville, Texas, for transport to Mexico.

Worldwide jumping-off airports include Mesa, Arizona; San Antonio, Texas; Alexandria, Louisiana; and Miami.

“Special high-risk charter flights are scheduled to countries or regions (including Europe, Africa, and Asia) on an as-needed basis to remove noncitizens who fail to comply with removal efforts,” the feds say, with those “with serious medical conditions; as well as other high-profile removals with final orders.”

Basically, ICE Air can go anywhere a fugitive is wanted.

“ICE Air Operations is capable of facilitating the removal of alien nationals from any location in the continental United States to anywhere in the world via commercial airline or charter aircraft, ensuring their safe and humane return to their countries of origin,” immigration officials say.

It isn’t cheap, though. Federal officials say the average cost of a charter flight is $8,577 “per flight hour.” A high-risk charter flight averages between $6,929 to $26,795 per flight hour, “depending on aircraft requirements.”

In fiscal year 2022, ERO arrested 46,396 noncitizens with criminal histories. That group accounted for 198,498 charges and convictions, including 21,531 assault offenses; 8,164 sex and sexual assault offenses; 5,554 weapons offenses; 1,501 homicide-related offenses; and 1,114 kidnapping offenses.

Jairo Soares-Pereira exits his removal flight at Tancredo Neves International Airport in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on March 10. ( photo)
An ICE Air charter flight costs an average of $8,577 per flight hour and up to $26,795 per flight hour for high-risk flights. ( photo)
An ICE Air charter flight costs an average of $8,577 per flight hour and up to $26,795 per flight hour for high-risk flights. ( photo)
Jairo Soares-Pereira is arrested in Malden and was flown back to Brazil where he was wanted by police. ( photo)
Jairo Soares-Pereira is arrested in Malden and was flown back to Brazil where he was wanted by police. ( photo)

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