The Human Rights Violators & War Crimes Unit (HRVWCU) at United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) focuses on conducting investigations of human rights violations in an effort to prevent the United States from becoming a safe haven to people who engaged in war crimes, genocide, ethnic violence, and other forms of serious human rights violations in foreign countries.
When foreign war crimes suspects, persecutors, and human rights abusers are identified within the U.S. borders, the HRVWCU is tasked with investigating, prosecuting, and removing any such offenders from the United States.
On October 8, 2014, Ajay Bhatt, an attorney from the HRVWCU held an informative presentation, hosted by the Program on Law and Government at the Washington College of Law, about the role that ICE plays in protecting human rights. During his presentation, Mr. Bhatt stated that the United States grants admission to a large number of refugees and asylum seekers annually. However, he also noted that among the individuals fleeing wars, genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other forms of persecution, there are people who falsely claim to be victims of abuse in order to escape prosecution and punishment in their home countries. The No Safe Haven Initiative targets these individuals.
Since 2004, ICE has arrested more than 275 individuals for human rights-related violations and removed more than 650 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. In September of this year, it has been reported that ICE agents were able to arrest nineteen fugitives in cities across the United States. All arrested individuals were suspected war criminals and human rights violators illegally seeking asylum in the United States. Among those arrested were citizens of West African and Central American countries who participated in revolutionary and military groups implicated in human rights atrocities.