Fugitive Operations

The removal of criminal aliens from the United States is a national priority. To address this priority, ICE designed the National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP) within the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) directorate.

The primary mission of National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP) is to reduce the fugitive alien population in the United States. The NFOP identifies, locates, and arrests fugitive aliens, aliens that have been previously removed from the United States, removable aliens who have been convicted of crimes, as well as aliens who enter the United States illegally or otherwise defy the integrity of our immigration laws and border control efforts.

The NFOP’s "Absconder Apprehension Initiative" uses data available from National Crime Information Center databases as a virtual force multiplier. As part of the Alien Absconder Initiative, ERO developed and coordinated the "ICE ERO Most Wanted" program. This program publicizes the names, faces and other identifying features of the 10 most wanted fugitive criminals by ERO.

Who is a fugitive alien? A fugitive alien is a person who has failed to leave the United States after he or she receives a final order of removal, deportation or exclusion, or who has failed to report to ICE after receiving notice to do so.

Key ICE Fugitive Operations Initiatives

  • The National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP) reduces the fugitive alien population in the United States. ICE databases show the targeted enforcement strategy is paying off as the nation's fugitive alien population continues to decline. At the end of fiscal year (FY) 2011, there were approximately 479,773 fugitive alien cases — a decrease of more than 26,559 since the beginning of the fiscal year.
  • Much of the credit for these results can be attributed to the rapid expansion of the program and the establishment of the Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC). The initiative launched in 2003 with eight Fugitive Operations Teams (FOTs) nationwide. Today, ICE has 104 FOTs deployed nationwide to pursue these types of cases. In FY 2011, these teams accounted for more than 40,000 arrests, an increase in the number of arrests for the ninth straight year.
  • ICE established the FOSC in June 2006 in South Burlington, Vt. It has since relocated to Williston, Vt. The FOSC is a key element in addressing the burgeoning fugitive alien problem in the United States. The Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit (CTCEU) uses the FOSC to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the NFOP.
  • Through the use of technology and partnerships with law enforcement agencies, the FOSC provides a specialized unit that focuses on analyzing the nature and characteristics of the U.S. fugitive alien backlog and the at-large criminal alien population as recorded in the Enforce Alien Removal Module (EARM). This effort has reduced the reported number of existing fugitives by reconciling records to eliminate those who have left the country voluntarily, successfully adjusted their status, or were discovered to be incarcerated and, therefore, no longer fugitives.

Recent News

10/29/2010 Washington, DC ICE featured on National Geographic Channel's "Border Wars"