Friday, May 09, 2008

Compilation of News Reports on Immigration Enforcement and Raids

Here are a 12 news reports on ICE immigration enforcement actions in different parts of the country that have taken place over the last week and half or so, approximately from May 2-9, 2008:


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Arizona Republic


Illegal-immigrant crackdowns have Valley churches on edge

Worshipers deported after retreat


by Daniel González - May. 8, 2008 12:00 AM The Arizona Republic


Once a month, Manuel Maldonado leads a group on a spiritual retreat to the mountains in central Arizona, where out in nature members feel closer to God.


But an April 12 retreat to a campground near Prescott was devastating to the group.


A camper complained the group was making too much noise. Yavapai County sheriff's deputies arrived, questioned the church members about their citizenship and called federal immigration officials. Nine church members, including the pastor, Maldonado, were detained; seven were later deported to Mexico.


"We are brothers who went there to praise God, and they treated us like delinquents," said Maldonado, pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Agape in west Phoenix.


The deportations have sent a shock wave through the large and fast-growing network of Latino evangelical churches in Arizona and across the nation, many of which are filled with undocumented immigrants.


Local pastors fearful of stepped-up immigration enforcement are canceling retreats north of the Phoenix area. Some national church leaders are concerned the deportations could open the door for immigration raids at churches.


The Prescott deportations echoed incidents in the Valley that have raised tensions between church leaders and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. A crime sweep by sheriff's deputies in September resulted in arrests of undocumented day laborers near a church sanctuary in Cave Creek, and another on Good Friday led to arrests of illegal immigrants in east Phoenix.


"We don't feel safe for the Latino people," said Hector Ramirez, pastor of Iglesia Wesleyana in Phoenix. He canceled a trip this weekend to the Assembly of God Camp in Prescott that involved seven Valley Latino evangelical churches and 80 members. The retreat will be at one of the churches.


"We are afraid not only that our undocumented members could be deported but that members with papers could be hassled about their immigration and detained," he said.


Authorities say they aren't targeting church gatherings or churches.

The Prescott incident was in response to a noise complaint. The deportations, however, show how local police, even in rural areas, are becoming more aggressive in calling federal authorities when they encounter suspected illegal immigrants.


Retreat plans changed


The men from Maldonado's church originally planned to hold their spiritual retreat near Sedona. They changed plans after hearing that police in northern and central Arizona were cracking down on smugglers transporting loads of illegal immigrants.


They decided instead to hold their retreat at the White Spar Family Campground.


Maldonado said there were 11 men in his group. One also brought his 12-year-old son.


The group arrived at the campground in three vans about 3 a.m. He said some members set up tents; others slept in their vans.


Maldonado said the group started singing and praying around 6 a.m. One member played a guitar.


The church's worship style is loud and animated. But at the campground, Maldonado said, they kept their voices down.


"We were praying and singing very peacefully," he said.


A little after 7 a.m., Yavapai County sheriff's deputies arrived and said someone had complained about noise.


Deputies asked members for identification and, after several showed Mexican ID cards, began asking church members whether they were in the country illegally. After they said yes, a deputy called Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


"At this point, we were terrified," Maldonado said.


An ICE official questioned each member over the phone and determined that nine of the 12 were possibly in the country illegally. Deputies handcuffed them and drove them to the Prescott jail in vans, Maldonado said. ICE officials then transported them to Phoenix for processing.


Solitude important


Alfredo Aragon, a Latino Christian missionary, said spiritual retreats are an important aspect of church life. They provide members a chance to worship in solitude away from the distractions of the city, he said. Many congregations hold a retreat once a month in places such as Sedona, Flagstaff, Payson and Prescott, especially during the warmer months, he said.


"(Now), the ones who don't have papers are not going to want to travel to these places," Aragon said.


Local and national church leaders say they are afraid the deportations may open the door for law-enforcement officials to begin conducting immigration raids at churches. Along with schools and hospitals, they have generally been regarded as off-limits.


"The federal government basically had . . . an unstated agreement with the church, with clergy that said, 'We are never going to go into your churches. We are not going to go and ask you to identify who is undocumented. We respect your constitutional right . . . to exercise your religious convictions,' " said Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.


Rodriguez contends that spiritual retreats are considered by law an extension of churches because, under the U.S. Constitution, people have the right to worship freely.


ICE officials would not comment about Rodriguez's claim that ICE has an unofficial policy not to question people in churches about immigration status.


Rodriguez said he is mobilizing the organization's network of 18,000 Latino Christian churches to call on the three presidential candidates to condemn the deportations.


"If they were all White, and they were making noise and they were celebrating with Celtic music and the local authorities were to come in, would they have asked for proof of citizenship? My inclination is absolutely not," Rodriguez said.


Dwight D'Evelyn, a spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, denied deputies racially profiled to question the church members about their citizenship. He pointed out that the deputies were responding to a noise complaint.


D'Evelyn said it is standard procedure for deputies to ask for identification while investigating crimes.


"Whether it is a church group or a bunch of bikers, it doesn't matter," he said.


The Sheriff's Office has a policy against asking crime victims or witnesses about their immigration status. But deputies have discretion to call ICE if they encounter someone they suspect is in the country illegally, D'Evelyn said.


Fighting deportation


Meanwhile, Maldonado is back living with his wife and five children in a trailer park off Buckeye Road and preaching at his 70-member church.


He is the only one of the nine church members detained who is fighting deportation. The last of the nine detainees was released after ICE officials determined he was in the country legally with a work permit.


Maldonado was taken to a federal detention center in Florence, where he spent 17 days.


He was released April 29 after pastors and church members raised $4,000 for his bond. He is awaiting a deportation hearing.


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Times Dispatch


33 workers arrested in immigration raid


Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 03:35 PM





Federal immigration officials raided the construction site for the new federal courthouse in downtown Richmond this morning and arrested 33 workers on immigration violations.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents rounded up 29 men and four women working at the site who were residing here illegally. They were charged with immigration violations and are being detained for further processing, said Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for ICE in Washington.


The workers' native countries included Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Peru, Fobbs said.


"It's still ongoing and it's still being processed," Fobbs said of the investigation.


Virginia State Police assisted in the raid and supplied four state troopers "to assist traffic flow as vehicles entered and exited," said state police spokesman Sgt. Tom Cunningham.


The courthouse building at Seventh and Broad streets is in the final stages of construction and is expected to open this summer.


The builder for the project is Tompkins Builders Inc., based in Washington, which does private and public sector construction.


A spokeswoman for Turner Construction, which owns Tompkins, was expected to issue a statement about today's arrests later today.


The new courthouse, developed by the U.S. General Services Administration, will replace the federal court building at 10th and Main streets, parts of which date to before the Civil War.


The new seven-story structure includes a six-story atrium. The 349,000-square-foot building will have about six football fields worth of office and courtroom space. The project is costing an estimated

$104 million. Contact Mark Bowes at (804) 649-6450 or



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Star Bulletin (Maui, Hawaii)


Federal agents arrest 22 suspected illegal workers on Maui

Workers were arrested in two chain restaurants


Star-Bulletin Staff


Posted on: Saturday, May 3, 2008 9:01 PM HST


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 22 suspected illegal immigrant workers Friday at two popular chain restaurants on Maui, according to a news release. Eight foreign nationals were arrested at the Cheeseburger Island Style restaurant in Wailea and the Cheeseburger In Paradise restaurant in Lahaina, and 14 were taken into custody at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant in Lahaina, the news release said.


The workers were arrested on suspicion of administrative immigration violations.


Officials questioned the individuals and released two men under supervision on humanitarian grounds.


Twenty workers — six women and 14 men — were flown to the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.


Family members of those arrested can call 541-2623, option 2, for information.


The state Department of Public Safety Sheriff Division, Maui Police Department, Coast Guard, Hawaii Army National Guard, FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office assisted in the case.



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San Francisco Chronicle


Berkeley students protest ICE raids


Chronicle Staff Report


(05-07) 20:56 PDT Berkeley -- Two dozen students from Berkeley High School protested raids by immigration agents, donning brown armbands on Thursday to show solidarity with the Latino community that is most often the target of immigration crackdowns.


The protest came a day after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided homes in Berkeley and Oakland and arrested suspected illegal immigrants. The raids touched off rumors that swirled around Berkeley and Oakland schools that ICE agents were going on campus to detain students who were in the country illegally.


The school districts said no ICE teams had entered school property, and that they were unlikely to do so. Berkeley district spokesman Mark Coplan said some teachers responded to the rumors by keeping students in classrooms, or giving them rides home to avoid having to deal with the immigration officials.


Coplan attributed the reaction to the Berkeley community's disagreement with federal immigration laws, and a well-founded fear of deportation.


Virginia Kice, a spokesperson for ICE, said the rumors launched a "tsunami" of calls to the ICE office. She said immigration authorities try to conduct their investigations and detentions in appropriate times and places, with consideration given to the sensitivity of the surrounding community.



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S.F. Bay Guardian


The feds raid San Francisco

Local activists can do a lot to stop this insanity


GUARDIAN EDITORIAL, Wednesday May 7, 2008


EDITORIAL On May 2, the day after thousands demonstrated for immigrant rights exactly one month after Mayor Gavin Newsom and Sup. Tom Ammiano stood in front of the cameras and announced a new initiative to promote the city's sanctuary policy for undocumented residents federal agents swept into the city and arrested workers at El Balazo restaurant as part of an immigration enforcement raid.


It was bitterly ironic: much of the excitement of the large May Day rallies in San Francisco came from the diversity of the crowds and the connections among labor, antiwar activists, and immigrant-rights groups. The raid reflects the ongoing disaster that is US immigration policy under President George W. Bush arresting and deporting restaurant workers tears up families and communities, is a colossal waste of money, does nothing about the economic issues driving immigration, and damages the San Francisco and California economies.


But it's tough to get leading Democrats to take a strong stand on the issue: both Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have ducked tough immigration questions during the presidential campaign.


And while San Francisco's Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, was against the fence and called it a "terrible idea," she hasn't said a word in public about last week's immigration raid in her home city.


Neither has Sen. Dianne Feinstein or Sen. Barbara Boxer.


There's only so much San Francisco can do to block the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. The local sanctuary law bars city officials from in any way assisting ICE in apprehending undocumented immigrants, and Newsom and the Police Commission should direct Police Chief Heather Fong to investigate and ensure that there were no San Francisco law enforcement resources used, directly or indirectly, in the raid.


But local activists can do a lot to stop this insanity, using the sorts of political alliances we were encouraged to see forming at the May Day events. For starters, the antiwar, labor, and immigrant rights groups should call on Pelosi, Feinstein, and Boxer to denounce the raids and demand that ICE stop terrorizing California workers.



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San Francisco Chronicle


Rumors of immigration agents near schools generate fear


By Juliana Barbassa


6:26 p.m. May 6, 2008


SAN FRANCISCO Immigration officials on Tuesday said rumors that federal agents were seen near Berkeley and Oakland schools were unfounded. District officials said the rumors had led some parents to stay away from the schools, apparently too scared to pick up their children.


"There's no truth to it," said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "We are very mindful of the sensitivity of conducting enforcement actions near schools."


Kice said federal agents did conduct routine enforcement actions in Berkeley, arresting four undocumented immigrants there, and in Oakland, where they detained one immigrant. The detentions were part of their Northern California fugitive operations program, which has made more than 800 arrests this year.


"In most cases, enforcement actions are conducted in residences, or in the place of employment," she said.


The Berkeley schools superintendent, aware of ICE sweeps within the city, had sent out a recorded message to all households in the district around noon Tuesday letting them know that immigration agents would not be allowed on campus, and would not be allowed to pick up any children.


"The message was pretty clear," said Mark Copelan, spokesman for the Berkeley Unified School District. But it may have been misinterpreted, he said, because parents soon started to call schools.


At Berkeley High School, students waited after the end of classes to get rides home from teachers, said Ashwin Ravikumar, a school district tutor.


"Students are pretty scared," Ravikumar said. "A lot of them are really, really worried about their families."


In Oakland, the reports left many parents too scared to pick up their children from school, said Angie Gonzalez, the attendance clerk at Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy.


The reports also prompted Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums to stop by Korematsu Academy when classes ended to make sure the students were safe. He told parents and advocates who gathered there that schools should be respected as places of learning and not subjected to immigration raids.



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Baltimore Sun,0,7478209.story


Policy raises ire in W. Md.

Frederick deputies ask detainees about immigration status


By Kelly Brewington | Sun reporter

May 7, 2008


FREDERICK - Frederick County sheriff's deputies have become the first Maryland law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they arrest, a move authorities say is a necessary tool for policing, but one that has sparked an outcry from advocates who say the policy is costly and encourages ethnic profiling.


CASA of Maryland, the state's largest immigrant advocacy group, held a news conference yesterday at which it released a report estimating the policy could cost the county $3.2 million a year. Opponents called for an end to the program, which is the result of an agreement signed Feb.

6 between the Frederick County Sheriff's Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


CASA's estimate of the cost of the policy took into account increased police training, staffing, detention costs and the possibility of a drain on the county's foster care system if immigrant parents are detained.


County Commissioner Charles A. Jenkins said later that he doubted the veracity of CASA's figures and supports the sheriff's efforts. He said the county is reimbursed by the federal government for detaining immigrants.


"They're not knocking on doors, saying 'show me your papers,'" Jenkins said. "Legal taxpayers do not need to worry about this. ... Illegal immigration costs us a lot, and we have limited resources here. I am not interested in becoming a sanctuary county."


The issue reflects intense debate over immigration in the county, which has the fastest-growing immigrant population in Maryland. The county's foreign-born population increased from 4 percent in 2000 to 9 percent in 2006, according to U.S. Census estimates, with the majority of the influx being Latino.


In the fall, Jenkins proposed a law that would deny county services, including schooling, to immigrants who entered the country illegally.


The measure failed. Then two weeks ago, commissioners proposed a measure to require all county documents to be written in English only.


The effort failed, and instead commissioners adopted a largely symbolic resolution proclaiming English as the county's primary language of communication.


Kerry O'Brien, legal director at CASA, said immigrants have become scapegoats in Frederick and in other places where restrictive local immigration policies have been passed, such as Prince William County, Va., where stringent immigration enforcement has ignited fierce debate.


"Frederick is definitely the farthest out in its sentiment against immigrants and basically showing little appreciation to the contributions that immigrants have made, such as in the construction boom," she said. "No one complains when immigrants contribute to the economy, but all of a sudden, people have become organized around blaming any particular problem on immigrants." During the question-and-answer portion of the news conference, Frederick resident Richard Schultz stunned immigration-rights advocates by launching into personal complaints about illegal immigration in the county.


"What do you say to the burden on the typical American worker whose wages are cut under by illegal aliens?" he said. "Illegal aliens should be getting out of the country, going to the back of the line and doing things the right way."


CASA officials, who were joined by the head of the Frederick NAACP, church leaders and other local immigrant advocates, also warned the policy could chill police-community relations and criticized Frederick County Sheriff Charles "Chuck" Jenkins for signing the agreement without holding a community meeting first.


Sheriff Jenkins declined to comment on the report, saying through a spokesman that he wanted time to review it.


Since the agreement with ICE was signed, 16 corrections officers and 10 deputies have completed four weeks of training in two parts of the policy, said Capt. Tim Clarke. The first allows corrections officers to check the immigration status of anyone arrested. That portion of the program began April 1 and has resulted in 14 inmates being detained for further review and possible deportation by immigration agents, Clarke said.


The second portion of the program, which allows deputies to ask the immigration status of people when responding to a call for service, has not started, he said.


Clarke said that in the past, if deputies believed a suspect was an illegal immigrant, officers would call ICE agents in Baltimore to help investigate the case. But often, the agents, short on staff, would not be able to intervene, he said.


"It's another tool for law enforcement officers to use on the street," he said. "It's a resource for them, whereas we didn't have that before."


Rosibel David blames the policy for tearing apart her family and creating fear for immigrants throughout Frederick County. Last Monday, sheriff's deputies stopped and detained the man whom her 5-year-old calls his father, Alejandro Rocha, on an immigration violation. He was a passenger in a car that had been reported stolen, David said. The family lost its main breadwinner, was evicted and forced to move in with friends, relying on their kindness and financial support, David said.


David said when her son sees a police cruiser he cries to his mother, "Is that the one who took my dad?"


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Toledo Blade


U.S. to deport couple to native Pakistan Toledoans overstayed visa 30 years





A West Toledo couple were released yesterday from federal detention and allowed to return home - temporarily - more than a week after immigration authorities picked them up so they could be deported to their native Pakistan.


"As unbelievable and crazy as this past week has been, I feel nothing but relieved and incredibly lucky that they're coming home," their daughter, Anita Severance, said last night.


Her parents, Waheed Hashmi, 69, and his wife, Nusrat Hashmi, 63, were taken from their home April 29 by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and until yesterday, were in a suburban Cleveland jail.


Greg Palmore, an immigration and customs spokesman, said Mr. Hashmi came to the United States on a valid student visa in June, 1973. An extension allowed him to stay until September, 1977.


Mrs. Hashmi was granted the same status as her husband, he said.


But the visas and extensions lapsed. In 1987, an immigration judge ordered the couple to leave, Mr. Palmore said.


"At some point, they'll be removed from the United States," Mr.

Palmore said. "They did not abide by the judge's ruling, and now [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] will have to remove them at the government's expense."


But Mrs. Severance said the couple worked on gaining legal status for years.


Mr. Hashmi, who received his doctorate from Bowling Green State University, directed animal research facilities for more than a decade at the University of Toledo. He retired last year, his daughter said.


He had proper employment authorization for much of that time and the couple had been fighting through appeals in order to stay, she said.


"It wasn't all that time he was illegally working here by any means,"

Mrs. Severance said. "He's been trying for all these years, and always felt he had a case to be able to stay here."


Mr. Palmore, of immigration and customs, was blunt: "The gentleman is in the country illegally."


After another appeal was denied in 2006, "they got to the point where, 'We're done trying,'" Mrs. Severance said.


The couple decided to return to Pakistan and Mr. Hashmi had a job lined up in Lahore.


"They were planning on peacefully going back," Mrs. Severance said. "And then they were picked up."


In addition, Mr. Hashmi has been recovering from prostate cancer and Mrs. Hashmi learned recently she has diabetes.


The couple have a son and two daughters. During the couple's detention, immigration authorities would not say when they might be flown to Pakistan.


"That was very devastating to think about, especially for a mother not to be able to say goodbye to her kids," Mrs. Severance said.


With their release from jail, "at least they will be able to come home and finish their financial matters, sell their home, and be able to say goodbye," Mrs. Severance said.


The couple at home will have to report by phone regularly to immigration authorities, Mr. Palmore said. "We'll continue to move forward with the removal process," he said.


He did not say why they were released, and he had no information last night about when they might be deported.


Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.



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Los Angeles Times,0,671538.story


Federal agents arrest illegal immigrants leaving U.S.

At random times in San Diego near the border, vehicles are searched.


Most detainees without criminal records or numerous immigration violations are released in a few hours, officials say. Photo Gallery By Richard Marosi Los Angeles Times Staff Writer


May 7, 2008


SAN DIEGO U.S. border authorities no longer apprehend illegal immigrants only as they enter the country. Now they're catching them on the way out.


At random times near the Tijuana-San Diego border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have been setting up checkpoints, boarding buses destined for Mexico and pulling off people who don't have proper documentation.


The operation appears to be an expansion of a broader federal crackdown targeting illegal immigrants in jails, airports and workplaces across the country.


The checkpoints, which are not announced in advance, are set up on southbound Interstate 5 about 100 yards north of the border. Vehicles in all lanes must stop.


Vincent Bond, an agency spokesman, said departing immigrants are fair targets.


"If our officers come upon people who are here illegally . . . regardless of whether they're leaving the country, we detain them, make a record of the fact they were here illegally and return them to Mexico," Bond said.


Immigrant rights groups and other critics say the crackdown is a sad reflection of growing anti-immigrant sentiment in the country.


"The policies of the Bush administration are designed to make life so difficult for immigrants in the U.S. illegally that they're forced to leave. . . . Now they're arresting people who they are actually driving out of the country. . . . Unbelievable," said Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, a Washington-based immigration reform group.


But some GOP politicians and anti-illegal immigration organizations praise federal authorities for widening their enforcement efforts. A spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) said agents were simply doing their job.


"Whether people are coming or going . . . checkpoints are just another line of defense that targets illegal behavior," Joe Kasper said.


Customs and Border Protection, which typically provides detailed statistics on apprehensions, would not disclose details of the checkpoint operation. Nor would they say how long it has been underway.


The checkpoints have been randomly deployed since the Sept. 11 attacks, with inspectors typically looking for fugitives, stolen vehicles, weapons, drugs and other contraband.


Illegal immigrants became targets for arrest at the checkpoints only a few months ago, according to immigrant rights groups and human rights organizations in Mexico. It is unclear how frequently the checkpoints have been set up.


But Enrique Morones, president of the Border Angels, a San Diego-based group, said he believes that hundreds of immigrants have been arrested since the crackdown began.


Over a half-hour period April 30, agents appeared to be pulling over every bus and van heading for the border. But any vehicle, including cars, that agents deem suspicious may be stopped and searched.


Inspectors detained five young men from one bus traveling from Los Angeles to Puebla, a city southeast of Mexico City. After the inspectors made their apprehensions, only two passengers remained onboard.


"Pobrecitos (poor people)," said Lily Lujan, who watched the immigrants being arrested as she walked to the border crossing. "They were almost home. If they're already leaving the country, what's the problem?"


Federal agents say the checkpoints are a productive way to stop dangerous criminals, drug shipments and money launderers.


The illegal immigrants they apprehend are typically turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol for processing. Unless they have serious criminal records or numerous immigration violations, most are returned to Mexico within a few hours, the agents say.


Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center of Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego, said he was not aware of similar crackdowns in the past. The checkpoints make sense for intercepting contraband, but targeting illegal immigrants voluntarily leaving the country is a "bizarre" way of handling the illegal immigration question, he said.


Other critics call it an enormous waste of resources and say it could be counterproductive and discourage immigrants from going home.


"There are people that want to go back, and even though they haven't done anything wrong, they might be intimidated from leaving," said Morones of the Border Angels. "It makes no sense."


But groups that fight illegal immigration praise federal authorities for showing more willingness to enforce existing immigration laws aggressively. Focusing on the criminality of people entering the country is only part of the job of border agencies, they say.


Rick Oltman, spokesman for Californians for Population Stabilization, said he hoped that the crackdown on departing illegal immigrants would be expanded to other exit points across the country.


He said apprehended immigrants who returned home to Mexico would become "ambassadors of enforcement" and might help deter illegal immigration.


"Each one of these people will then report increased enforcement to family and friends when they do get home, and that will give them second thoughts about sneaking back into the U.S.," he said.



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Arizona Republic


Fountain Hills sweep yields similar migrant-arrest result


JJ Hensley

The Arizona Republic

May. 8, 2008 12:00 AM


Critics have railed against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for concentrating his "crime-suppression efforts" in neighborhoods with a high percentage of Hispanic and Latino residents.


So this week, he took the operation to Fountain Hills, where Arpaio lives and few Hispanics do.


But the results were the same.


In a two-day traffic-violation patrol, 16 of the 20 people arrested - or 80 percent of them - were suspected of being in the country illegally.


According to the 2000 census, fewer than 5 percent of the 20,000 residents were Hispanic.


Arpaio was surprised that 80 percent of those arrested were suspected illegal immigrants.


Still, the sheriff said everyone arrested was breaking the law.


"I'm a little surprised, quite frankly, when you take (Wednesday's) figures, seven out of 10, and (Tuesday's) figures, nine out of 10, that's double what we arrested in two days in Guadalupe," Arpaio said. "I didn't realize we would get that many illegals in Fountain Hills."


Sheriff's officials attributed the discrepancy to early morning construction traffic in the area.


Arpaio said he brought about 14 deputies and a handful of posse members to Fountain Hills in response to complaints about traffic issues in the small town.


The operation lacked the hype and fanfare of Arpaio's previous crime sweeps in Phoenix and Guadalupe, and it didn't draw any protesters, either.


Deputies simply went out on the main streets of Fountain Hills early Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and stopped cars and trucks for minor traffic violations.


Most of the vehicles were older-model trucks, many with work equipment such as ladders strapped to their roofs.


Deputies cited cracked windshields, burned-out brake lights, dark window tinting and obscured license plates as probable cause for pulling the trucks over.


"There's a lot of construction types going on out there at that time of the morning, and a lot of those types of vehicles have a tendency to have expired plates and broken windshields," said Brian Sands, chief of enforcement with the Sheriff's Office. "Numerically speaking, a lot of it's got to do with the age of the vehicle."


When drivers couldn't produce a license from the United States, deputies began questioning the motorists about their immigration status.


Deputies also arrested three U.S. citizens for driving with suspended licenses, including one who had a warrant for her arrest.


Those apprehensions make the operation a success, said sheriff's Sgt. Brett Palmer, who commanded Wednesday's effort.


Traffic stops are one of the most efficient means of clearing warrants and ferreting out drivers who have suspended licenses, he said, and if the efforts catch people in the country illegally, it doesn't mean deputies are targeting members of a certain race.



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San Francisco Chronicle


ICE raids on homes panic schools, politicians


Jill Tucker,Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writers

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

(05-06) 19:24 PDT Oakland -- Immigration arrests at homes in Berkeley and Oakland on Tuesday sent a wave of panic among parents in both cities, as authorities mistakenly believed immigration agents were raiding schools.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were in both cities Tuesday, performing routine fugitive operations, spokeswoman Virginia Kice said. Teams go out virtually every day looking for specific "immigration fugitives," she said.

Officers arrested four family members at a Berkeley home and a woman at an Oakland residence. They were not at schools.

Yet, within the next few hours, rumors of raids circulated throughout the communities.

In Berkeley, school district Superintendent Bill Huyet sent out an automated phone message to all parents notifying them that a Latino family had been picked up and assuring them that the district would "not allow any child to be taken away from the school."

In Oakland, Mayor Ron Dellums and three school board members converged at the end of the school day on Stonehurst Elementary School along with immigration rights advocates, saying they believed ICE agents "would return."

"In my view, that is the ugly side of government," Dellums said. "No way children should ever be treated to that kind of harassment and fear."

He said police officers will be posted at the campus Wednesday to ensure that federal immigration officials don't come onto school grounds. He added that federal officials have assured him they will not be at schools.

Initially, Oakland district officials said federal agents were at Stonehurst and denied entry by school staff. By late afternoon, they rescinded that, saying that an ICE vehicle was seen nearby. Berkeley officials also said no agents were at local schools.

Still, state Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland, got involved.

"There should be an immediate freeze on ICE raids directed at schoolchildren while legislation aiming to fix immigration is considered," he said in a statement.

Later, immigration advocates said they believed ICE vans were circling schools and intimidating the community, noting that ICE officers accompanied a mother onto an Oakland school campus in December before questioning her in a workplace investigation.

Kice said Tuesday's rumors took on a life of their own.

In most cases, ICE fugitive operations take place at residences or sometimes at places of employment, she said. "A school is not a place we would routinely conduct an enforcement operation for a variety of reasons," Kice said.

The fear across the communities, however, was real.

"People are terrified," said Berkeley Unified spokesman Mark Coplan. "There is a lot of speculation."

Larry Bensky's fifth-grade daughter came home from Berkeley's LeConte Elementary School on Tuesday saying she had no homework because it was "ICE week," which meant "they" were going after the families of the Latino children.

"She doesn't know what ICE is," Bensky said. "She doesn't know what targeted is. You can imagine it's very disturbing for children that from one day to the next that a child they sit next to could be kidnapped, arrested and deported."

E-mail the writers at and

This article appeared on page B - 3 of the San FranciscoChronicle


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San Francisco Chronicle


Immigration raids at 11 El Balazo restaurants - 63 seized


Heather Knight, Staff Writer

San Francisco Chronicle

Saturday, May 3, 2008


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Friday stormed 11 El Balazo restaurants around the Bay Area, arresting 63 illegal immigrants - and drawing the outrage of immigration advocates who had marched the previous day to call for the legalization of undocumented workers.


The raids began at 10:30 Friday morning in San Francisco, San Ramon, Lafayette, Concord, Pleasanton and Danville and involved 62 people from Mexico and one from Guatemala.


Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for the immigration agency, called the arrests "a targeted enforcement action" that is part of a continuing criminal investigation she couldn't discuss further.


Immigration officials photographed, fingerprinted and interviewed all of those arrested. Ten women and one man were quickly released on humanitarian grounds, including pregnancy and medical concerns, pending future immigration proceedings, Kice said.


The rest were being processed, and the majority of them were expected to be released under supervision. Some of the illegal immigrants had prior criminal convictions or deportation orders and will be detained.


Evelyn Sanchez, advocacy coordinator for the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, was trying to connect with the workers as they were released to ensure they knew their rights and were treated fairly.


She said the immigration agents got search warrants for the El Balazo restaurants, ordered the doors be shut and interrogated the employees inside.


"It was a gross violation of civil rights, and it's just unfortunate that this happened the day after May Day when literally thousands of immigrants throughout the Bay Area marched to have this type of activity stopped," she said. "It just goes to show we need new immigration laws."


In an e-mail blast, Sanchez's group wrote, "The raids and deportations divide our families, traumatize our communities and are a disaster for our economy."


Since its creation in 2003, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has stepped up efforts to stop the employment of illegal immigrants. Last year, the agency made more than 4,900 arrests related to undocumented workers, a 45-fold increase compared with 2001.


"We have a duty to enforce our nation's laws, and we will do that," Kice said. "We will do it professionally and appropriately, but we will do our job."


The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has set up a phone number - (415) 844-5345 - for the detainees' family members to get information about their detention status and the process for their removal from the country.



<><><> the end / el fin / tamat <><><>


Arnoldo Garcia

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Red Nacional Pro Derechos Inmigrantes y Refugiados

310 8th Street Suite 303

Oakland, CA 94607

Tel (510) 465-1984 ext. 305

Fax (510) 465-1885


Join HURRICANE: the human rights immigrant community action network -- help build community power for justice & human rights!

Unete al HURACAN: la red de accion de comunidades inmigrantes para los derechos humanos -- construyendo el poder de las comunidades por la justicia y los derechos humanos!

Click here for Hurricane/Haga click para info sobre el Huracan:


Get a copy of Over-Raided, Under Siege, NNIRR’s new human rights report!


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