ICE apprehends illegal migrant after TikTok video advising squatting in homes goes viral

The Venezuelan illegal immigrant influencer who went viral with TikTok videos encouraging other migrants to squat in people’s houses has been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Leonel Moreno was apprehended by ICE’s Detroit field office and is now in federal custody, an ICE spokesperson told Fox News on Friday. He was apprehended by the agency’s fugitive operations unit in Gahanna, Ohio on Friday.

ICE later confirmed in a statement that he was apprehended and is being held “pending further immigration proceedings.”

Moreno illegally entered the United States on April 23, 2022, ICE confirmed to Fox News Digital Thursday. Border Patrol placed him in the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, but he abandoned it after failing to report to an ICE office within 60 days of arriving at his location.

Moreno previously claimed that his family receives $350 in government handouts each week and that he earns more than $1,000 per day as a TikTok influencer. His account, which had over half a million followers, had become inactive early this week, but his Instagram presence persisted.

Moreno previously told his audience that he intended to establish a business out of “invading” abandoned properties, occupying them under squatters’ rights legislation, and then selling them for profit. He stated that some of his African buddies informed him that they had already taken seven properties in the United States.

“I’ve considered invading a house in the United States,” he stated in the TikTok video. “I found out that there is a law that says that if a house is not inhabited, we can seize it.”

He also insulted those who work for a living.

You’re hurt because I make more than you without much work while you work like slaves, understand?” he asked. “That is the difference between you and me. I’m always going to make a lot of money with little effort, while you’re always going to be exploited, miserable, and irrelevant.”

The United States is in the third year of a record migrant crisis at the border, with a large number of arrivals from Venezuela. Venezuelans are tough to deport to their home country, however, because the socialist government will not accept them after accepting deportation planes directly from the United States late last year.

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) figures, just 834 Venezuelans were deported in fiscal year 2023, despite more than 335,000 border crossings.

Venezuelans can still be deported to Mexico, but officials have warned Fox that many of them often return to the United States as “gotaways.”

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