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:
Illegal-immigrant crackdowns have Valley churches on edge
Worshipers deported after retreat
by Daniel González - May. 8, 2008 12:00 AM The
Once a month, Manuel Maldonado leads a group on a spiritual retreat to the mountains in central
But an April 12 retreat to a campground near
A camper complained the group was making too much noise.
"We are brothers who went there to praise God, and they treated us like delinquents," said Maldonado, pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Agape in west
The deportations have sent a shock wave through the large and fast-growing network of Latino evangelical churches in
Local pastors fearful of stepped-up immigration enforcement are canceling retreats north of the
"We don't feel safe for the Latino people," said Hector Ramirez, pastor of Iglesia Wesleyana in
"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.
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
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.,
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
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,
"(Now), the ones who don't have papers are not going to want to travel to these places,"
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.
Meanwhile, Maldonado is back living with his wife and five children in a trailer park off
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
He was released April 29 after pastors and church members raised $4,000 for his bond. He is awaiting a deportation hearing.
33 workers arrested in immigration raid
Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 03:35 PM
By MARK BOWES
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Federal immigration officials raided the construction site for the new federal courthouse in downtown
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
The workers' native countries included
"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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Star Bulletin (
Federal agents arrest 22 suspected illegal workers on Maui
Workers were arrested in two chain restaurants
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
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
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.
San Francisco Chronicle
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
The school districts said no ICE teams had entered school property, and that they were unlikely to do so.
Coplan attributed the reaction to the
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.
The feds raid
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
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.
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
San Francisco Chronicle
Rumors of immigration agents near schools generate fear
By Juliana Barbassa
6:26 p.m. May 6, 2008
"There's no truth to it," said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for
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
"In most cases, enforcement actions are conducted in residences, or in the place of employment," she said.
"The message was pretty clear," said Mark Copelan, spokesman for the
"Students are pretty scared," Ravikumar said. "A lot of them are really, really worried about their families."
The reports also prompted Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums to stop by
Policy raises ire in
By Kelly Brewington | Sun reporter
May 7, 2008
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
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
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 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,
"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
"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
David said when her son sees a police cruiser he cries to his mother, "Is that the one who took my dad?"
By MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
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
"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
Greg Palmore, an immigration and customs spokesman, said Mr. Hashmi came to the
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
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
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
"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
"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:
email@example.com or 419-724-6182.
Federal agents arrest illegal immigrants leaving
At random times in
Most detainees without criminal records or numerous immigration violations are released in a few hours, officials say. Photo Gallery By Richard Marosi
May 7, 2008
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
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
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
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
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
"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
Wayne Cornelius, director of the
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
"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
Fountain Hills sweep yields similar migrant-arrest result
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
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
Deputies also arrested three
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.
San Francisco Chronicle
ICE raids on homes panic schools, politicians
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
(05-06) 19:24 PDT
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
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 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.
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
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
"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."
This article appeared on page B - 3 of the San FranciscoChronicle
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
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.
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