Operation Predator, a federal initiative to protect children from sex offenders, has netted more than 2,000 people in eight months, Homeland Security officials told Congress.
The program also has helped officials make significant progress in investigating online child pornography and arresting Americans who go abroad to have sex with children, Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Michael Garcia told the House Immigration, Border Security and Claims Subcommittee.
Those arrested include a Chicago pediatrician who was involved in child pornography, an illegal immigrant who remained in the United States and sexually assaulted a child despite having been deported three times, and a U.S. citizen from Seattle who flew to Cambodia to have sex with 7-year-old boys, reports the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
Although U.S. citizens and permanent residents fall under the program’s jurisdiction, Garcia said it focuses on finding illegal immigrants with criminal records. The program is operated by the Homeland Security Department’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Garcia said the majority of the 2,000 people arrested were illegal immigrants or permanent residents. They face deportation from the United States.