Friday, February 29, 2008
22 people arrested by ICE agents
From staff reports
Originally published 05:15 p.m., February 29, 2008
Updated 05:15 p.m., February 29, 2008
Agents from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 22 people in Ventura County this week as part of a regional operation aimed at criminals in the country illegally and people who have ignored deportation orders, authorities said Friday.
A total of 345 immigration violators were arrested in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties during the weeklong operation, according to ICE.
Of the 22 arrested in Ventura County, seven had outstanding deportation orders, ICE officials said. Ten had criminal histories in addition to immigration violations.
Arrests occurred in Oxnard, Ventura, Moorpark and Newbury Park. Most were early-morning raids at residences, officials said.
Of the 345 arrested across Southern California, 238 had deportation orders and 67 had criminal histories in addition to immigration violations, according to ICE.
The majority of those arrested were from Mexico, but nationals of 16 other countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador and Indonesia, were also detained, officials said.
Nearly Three Dozen Illegals Arrested in Ozarks
By KSPR News
Story Created: Feb 26, 2008
Story Updated: Feb 26, 2008
Federal Immigrations and Customs officers arrested three dozen illegal aliens in the Ozarks last weekend.The arrests were part of a four-day, six-state operation..
The Kansas City ICE office made the arrests in Springfield, Neosho, Carthage, Joplin, Webb City, Monett, Branson and Willow Springs. The aliens were from El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the Philippines.
“Our teams working together across six states today sent a strong message to those who choose to disregard our nation’s laws,” said Julie L. Myers, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE.
“If you ignore a judge’s order of removal, ICE will find you, arrest you, and you will be returned to your home country.”
In total, federal fugitive operations teams arrested 225 people in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin.
Sweep nabs 12 illegals in Neosho
By John Hacker
Neosho Daily News
Wed Feb 27, 2008, 01:36 PM CST
Neosho, Mo. -
A large majority of the 34 illegal immigrants arrested in Missouri during a weekend sweep by federal immigration officers were taken into custody in Carthage and Neosho.
Carl Rusnok, spokesman for the U.S. Immigrations and Customs department, said 16 people were arrested in Carthage and 12 were arrested in Neosho by the Kansas City-based Fugitive Operations Team.
Rusnok said these teams were created specifically to find "fugitive aliens," or aliens who fail to leave the country after having been ordered to do so by a federal immigrations judge.
From Friday to Monday, 11 fugitive operations teams made 225 arrests in: Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New York and Wisconsin.
Of the 34 aliens arrested by ICE's Kansas City Fugitive Operations Team, 10 were fugitives, and two were aliens with criminal convictions. The arrests took place in the following Missouri cities: Springfield, Neosho, Carthage, Joplin, Webb City, Monett, Branson and Willow Springs. Those arrested are from the following countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and The Philippines.
Rusnok said of the 16 arrested in Carthage, eight were fugitives who had ignored a previous order by a judge to leave the country and the other eight were “immigration status violators.”
One of those arrested in Carthage was in the U.S. after having been previously deported, a felony punishable by 20 years in federal prison if convicted, Rusnok said.
Of the 12 arrested in Neosho, two were fugitive aliens who had ignored a previous judge’s order, and the other 10 were people in the country illegally.
Rusnok said he didn't know why Carthage and Neosho had the largest numbers of aliens arrested.
“Our fugitive alien teams don’t just drop in on an area randomly, they do a lot of research and they pinpoint a location before they go out,” Rusnok said. “These teams were created specifically to go after those people who ignore a judge’s order to leave the country.”
ICE has established 75 Fugitive Operations Teams nationwide that are specially trained and dedicated solely to identifying, locating and arresting aliens who have absconded after receiving deportation orders. The increased fiscal year 2008 budget allocates funds for ICE to implement an additional 29 teams nationally.
“Our teams working together across six states today sent a strong message to those who choose to disregard our nation’s laws,” said Julie L. Myers, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE, in a written release sent out by Rusnok. “If you ignore a judge’s order of removal, ICE will find you, arrest you, and you will be returned to your home country.”
ICE established its Fugitive Operations Program in 2003 to eliminate the nation’s backlog of immigration fugitives and ensure that deportation orders handed down by immigration judges are enforced.
The teams prioritize cases involving immigration violators who pose a threat to national security and community safety. These include child sexual predators, suspected gang members and those who have convictions for any violent crimes.
Nationwide, ICE Fugitive Operations Teams have arrested more than 72,000 illegal aliens since the first teams were created.
There are approximately 585,000 fugitive aliens in ICE’s databases; but the targeted enforcement strategy is paying off. Last year, the nation’s fugitive alien population declined for the first time in history and continues to do so — in large part due to the work of the Fugitive Operations Teams.
ICE Agents Arrest 345 People In Five-County Operation
POSTED: 11:24 am PST February 29, 2008
LOS ANGELES -- A week-long federal law enforcement operation targeting immigration fugitives, criminals and violators netted 345 arrests in five Southland counties, customs officials announced Friday.
During the operation, which concluded Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested 194 people in Los Angeles County, 43 in Orange County, 68 in Riverside and San Bernardino counties combined and 40 in Ventura County, ICE reported.
Of those arrested, 238 were suspected immigration fugitives -- people who allegedly had ignored final orders of deportation or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported. About 20 percent of those arrested had criminal histories in addition to being in the country illegally, ICE reported.
Among those arrested was Jose Perez-Padilla, 46, a previously deported Mexican citizen and gang member whose criminal history includes felony convictions for drug sales and assault with a deadly weapon, according to ICE.
Perez-Padilla was arrested by ICE agents on Wednesday when he arrived at the Superior Court building in downtown Los Angeles to respond to state charges of possession of marijuana for sale.
He now faces prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's office for re-entry after deportation, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The people arrested were from 18 different countries, including Mexico, Colombia, Indonesia, Armenia, Thailand and India.
Because many of the suspects have already been through immigration proceedings, they are subject to immediate removal from the country, according to ICE.
"We want to send a strong message to those who ignore deportation orders handed down by the nation's immigration judges -- that ICE is going to use all of the tools and resources at its disposal to find you and send you home," said Brian DeMore of ICE's Los Angeles field office.
So far this year, the ICE fugitive operations teams in the Los Angeles area have made more than 1,000 arrests.
Police target illegal immigrants
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Escondido, Calif., department is going after criminals who have been deported and return to the city
The Associated Press, Feb. 23, 2008
SAN DIEGO -- Police in the city of Escondido are taking the federal immigration law into their own hands.
Unlike dozens of cities, counties and states across the nation whose officers have been trained by the federal government to enforce immigration laws, Escondido police are not seeking federal approval before picking up criminals who are in the country illegally.
This week, police officers began tracking down the 90 or so illegal immigrants in Escondido believed to have been previously deported after committing crimes in the U.S.
In a three-day sting that ended Friday, they found 14 -- including one who was arrested on charges of rape, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, domestic violence and driving under the influence, Officer Russ Whitaker said. Some were picked up at home, others in public areas.
Officers are not arresting illegal immigrants without criminal histories and are only targeting people who were previously deported after committing a crime in the U.S., said Escondido police spokesman Lt. Bob Benton.
"Our whole philosophy is to get criminals off the streets," Benton said. "We see these people get deported; they come back. They get arrested again, they come back again. This is our opportunity to get them formally deported again."
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not help execute the sting and does not comment on "internal policies" of local police, spokeswoman Lauren Mack said.
"It's a very unique approach," Mack said.
"We have no say in it."
However, the agency did review Escondido's suspect list and confirmed who had been previously deported. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also would handle any further deportations of suspects.
Michael Wishnie, a Yale Law School professor, said Escondido's crackdown is unusual but appears legal. Congress made limited exceptions for local police to enforce immigration laws without federal training and authorization -- one such exception is for suspects who were previously deported after committing crimes in the U.S., he said.
Whitaker, a Spanish-speaking bicycle patrol officer who grew up in Escondido, compiled the suspect list on his own. He grew frustrated seeing illegal immigrants commit crimes, get deported and then return to Escondido.
One man, whom Whitaker had arrested several times, was convicted on a weapons charge and had been deported six or seven times.
"He just keeps coming back," said Whitaker, who caught up with the man again this week. "Today, he said he's done with Escondido because I keep getting him."
Escondido police say suspects freely acknowledge being in the country illegally. Whitaker says people he arrests on his patrol volunteer details like how much they paid a smuggler and how long it took them to trek across the border.
"It's pretty amazing," Whitaker said. "They say they're here illegally. They're not really scared of us."
Whitaker says he remembers one gang member, who was charged with auto theft, domestic violence and battery. He returned to Escondido after getting deported.
"I know he's here illegally in the country, and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it," he said. "Now, we can get rid of him on sight. We don't have to wait for him to commit a crime to deport him."
This isn't the first time Escondido has waded into immigration enforcement. In 2006, the city abandoned an ordinance that would have punished landlords who rented to illegal immigrants after discovering that legal bills could top $1 million. By the time the City Council agreed to settle a lawsuit challenging the ordinance, it had spent $200,000.
posted by Dick Hughes
Dozens of fugitive aliens arrested
Thirty-four undocumented aliens who failed to leave the United States after being ordered to do so were taken into custody this week in Springfield, Branson, Joplin and several other southwest Missouri towns, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The arrests were made as part of a nationwide effort to take fugitive aliens into custody, according to an ICE news release.
Along with arrests in Springfield, Branson and Joplin, arrests were made in Neosho, Carthage, Webb City, Monett and Willow Springs. Those arrested are from El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the Philippines.
An ICE news release did not give details on where the arrests occurred in specific towns.
Of the 34 arrests, 10 were of fugitives and two were of aliens with criminal records.
Law-Enforcers Get Two For Their Trouble
Worker Arrested After Running From Cops Who Weren't Looking For Him
By Julie Wernau, Published on 2/29/2008
Groton — A New London probation officer was injured Thursday morning at a construction site where officers arrived to arrest one construction worker and ended up arresting two.
According to New London Police Capt. William Dittman, New London police and adult probation officers went to a construction site at Old Charter Oak Drive to arrest a man who was wanted for violating his probation.
When officers arrived, Dittman said, the workers were all wearing ski masks because of the cold, which made it difficult to determine which man they were supposed to arrest. Probation officers and police officers approached two men to question them, Dittman said, and one turned and walked away. When probation officers asked the man to stop, he took off running, Dittman said.
Officers wrestled the man to the ground, Dittman said, and one probation officer, who he did not identify, injured his knee during the struggle. When the mask was removed, officers found that the man was not the probation violator they were looking for. The worker, identified as Edwin Aviles, 35, of Ellington, was arrested for assault on a police officer. Following a call to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Aviles was held on an immigration retainer because there was no record that he had ever entered the United States, Dittman said.
A short time later, police were able to find the alleged probation violator, Gregory Frasure, 59, of no certain address, at the construction site, where he was arrested for violation of probation. The Judicial Branch said that the injured probation officer has been released from the hospital but it is unclear whether or not he will be able to return immediately to work.
ICE dismantles large-scale human smuggling scheme Friday, 29 February 2008
Ring suspected of bringing hundreds of illegal aliens a month into the Southland
LOS ANGELES - Six suspects are in custody facing federal criminal charges after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents executed a series of search and arrest warrants yesterday targeting a large-scale criminal organization suspected of smuggling several hundred illegal aliens a month into the Los Angeles area.
Yesterday's enforcement actions are the latest developments in a nearly three-year investigation by ICE that began in May 2005 when the Los Angeles Police Department discovered two smuggling "drop houses" in a 24-hour period in South Los Angeles occupied by more than 140 illegal aliens.
According to the 160-page case affidavit, the ensuing ICE investigation uncovered a highly profitable organization run by Guatemalan nationals that provided housing and transportation to illegal aliens who had previously been smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border to Phoenix. After the ring brought the aliens from Arizona to Southern California, they were held in "drop houses" in Los Angeles and Lancaster, Calif., before being loaded into vehicles and driven to cities nationwide. The ring's clients, primarily foreign nationals from Central America, paid the organization from $1,200 to $3,700 each for the domestic portion of their journey."
This probe has dealt a serious blow to one of the largest human smuggling operations uncovered on the West Coast in recent years," said Jennifer Silliman, deputy special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles. "Based on our investigation, we suspect this ring was transporting more than 100 illegal aliens a week into this area. The human smuggling trade is a ruthless, greed-driven enterprise that puts communities at risk and generates billions of dollars in illicit proceeds. That is why attacking and dismantling these organizations is one of ICE's top enforcement priorities."
During yesterday's operation, ICE agents arrested one of the three alleged ringleaders of the Francisco smuggling organization, so-called because the three primary suspects are all named Francisco. Francisco Andres Pedro, 35, of Guatemala, is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court here this morning.
A second key suspect, Francisco Andres Francisco, 39, was already in custody after being arrested last month in Pennsylvania for transporting illegal aliens. The third suspected ringleader, Francisco Pedro-Francisco, 29, remains at large.
Currently, the defendants in the case are accused of transporting and harboring illegal aliens. So far, 13 persons face charges in connection with the scheme. They include the three individuals arrested yesterday, three defendants who were already in custody, and seven suspects who are still being sought.
In addition to the arrests, ICE agents executed search warrants yesterday at several residences in Los Angeles and Lancaster, Calif., which were allegedly used by the organization to support the smuggling operation. ICE agents also collected evidence at the "San Francisco 99 Cent Store" on South Main Street in Los Angeles. According to court documents, the business, which is owned by Francisco Andres Francisco and his wife, served as a transportation staging area for illegal aliens being taken in vans and SUVs to cities across the country. ICE agents seized a variety of evidence at the sites, including bank records, smuggling client registers commonly known as "pollo" books, and other financial documents.
Those in custody include:
* Francisco Andres Francisco, 39, Guatemalan; suspected ringleader of the organization; currently in custody in Pa., for transporting illegal aliens;
* Elvira Bartolo Sebastian, 37, Guatemalan, wife of Francisco Andres Francisco, arrested Wednesday;
* Francisco Andres Pedro, 35, Guatemalan, arrested Wednesday, second suspected ringleader, allegedly recruited smuggling drivers;
* Juana Domingo Juan, 39, Guatemalan, arrested Wednesday, linked to multiple smuggling vehicles;
* Juan Jimenez-Pascual, 23, Guatemalan, suspected driver, currently in custody in Utah on re-entry after deportation charges;
* Henry Rodriguez-Sanchez, 27, nationality uncertain, currently in custody in Pa. for transporting illegal aliens.
Those still being sought include (mug shots are available):
* Francisco Pedro Francisco, 29, Guatemalan, third accused ringleader, owner and driver of suspected smuggling vehicles;
* Maria Francisco Marcos, 36, Guatemalan;
* Angel Gonzalez-Pelcio, 29, Guatemalan, rented suspected drop house and served as a driver;
* Gilberto Francisco-Lorenzo, 27, Guatemalan, suspected driver;
* Isaias Vasquez-Mendoza, 23, nationality uncertain, suspected driver;
* Anibal Francisco, 25, nationality uncertain, allegedly drove aliens from Phoenix to Los Angeles;
* Luis Lopez-Moncho, age unknown, nationality uncertain; suspected driver.The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
-- ICE --
Judge Orders Man Who Claims He's a U.S. Citizen To Be Deported
Reported by: Erik Runge Email: ErikRunge@woai.com Last Update: 7:49 pm
A father of five from Boerne who lied about his citizenship in court is now fighting to stay in the United States, the country in which he says he was born.
Thursday morning, a judge ordered 36-year-old Saul Espinoza deported to Mexico. Thursday afternoon, his attorney told News 4 he may get a break because immigration officials plan take another look at the case.
For 6 weeks Espinoza has been locked up in a federal jail waiting to find out if the country he says he born in would kick him out.
It wasn't a great day in court for Josue Martinez, or his client, Espinoza."
We are no longer contesting the case here in immigration court, and the judge did enter a final ruling that he be deported," explained Martinez.
The ruling will free Espinoza from jail, but bar him from coming back to the United States. Martinez says Espinoza is from the U.S., and he has school records, a baptismal certificate, and a U.S. birth certificate to prove it.
"The Department of Homeland Security has not properly investigated this case and has not done what is right and just," Martinez said.
An immigration spokesperson said last week agents did investigate the case."
We don't go around arresting people at random. There has to be a reason we are going after this individual," Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) spokesperson Nina Purneda told News 4.
Martinez said I.C.E. told him they'd be willing to do more investigative work and interview some witnesses before deporting Espinoza, but I.C.E. officials would not confirm that with News 4.
Espinoza's got into the mess after being arrested on several felony charges and telling the court he was a Mexican national. He's been convicted in federal court for being in the U.S. illegally. Since a judge ruled on his nationality once, case law won't allow for it to be argued again.
Martinez told News 4, "He doesn't know anyone in Mexico...No friends; No relatives."
Since Martinez can't show the courts the documents that show Espinoza was born here, he plans to apply for a U.S. passport and U.S. citizenship, with the hope that the government will then realize he is a citizen.
Immigration officials can withdraw their charges, which would allow Espinoza to stay in the country. But they would not comment on the case Thursday.
If the deportation does go through, Martinez said he may sue the federal government.
Another U.S. citizen who is from Los Angeles and mentally disabled, just sued the government for wrongly deporting him. He spent months in Mexico before being allowed to come back to the U.S.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Thursday, Feb 28, 2008 - 05:25 PM Updated: 06:03 PM
By Matt Elofson
Authorities arrested the owner of a local Chinese restaurant Thursday on felony immigration violations.
Houston County Sheriff’s deputies who were assisting agents with the Immigration Customs and Enforcement office arrested 31-year-old Hai Chao Liu on Thursday. Liu, of Crescent Drive, Dothan, was arrested around 11 a.m. at his restaurant, Dragon Garden Chinese Buffet on Ross Clark Circle, according to Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes.
ICE agents took Liu to Mobile on Thursday, and he will be deported back to China in a few days. Liu had already failed to attend an immigration hearing.
“He was basically a fugitive from ICE,” Hughes said. “He had overstayed his tourist visa several years back.”
ICE agents seized his Chinese passport from his residence Thursday morning, Hughes said.
The restaurant did not close, and other relatives will continue to manage and run the restaurant and gift shop. Hughes said deputies are still working on an ongoing investigation into other issues involving Liu.
Hughes encouraged county residents who know anyone who is in the U.S. illegally to report them to the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.
“We have limited powers when it comes to enforcing immigration laws, but we are doing everything we can on the local level to combat illegal immigration,” Hughes said. “We’re especially concerned with illegal immigrants who are involved in criminal activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering and violent crimes.”
Story Updated: Feb 28, 2008 at 6:14 PM CST
At Caminando Juntos, a Catholic ministry in Sioux Falls that focuses on the hispanic community, Sister Janet Horstman says the first call came in Tuesday morning of individuals being taken into custody. She's upset with the way the enforcement effort has been handled. "I guess what's so frustrating in these types of operations is the lack of communications with community based organizations or with the family members themselves."
Isac Orellena is here because his wife was taken into custody. He says she knew she needed to attend an immigration hearing, but was never notified about a time or place. "I don't understand why, because she has a work permit to work legally in this country."
Now he says he will do what he must to support her kids, but he's being told his wife will be deported. "She's devestated because we are a whole family, and she has 3 kids. One 11, 8 and 6 years old."
KSFY talked to another man this afternoon who said members of the hispanic community in Sioux Falls are very scared right now. He said many were staying home from work Thursday, afraid they might be picked up if they went to work.
Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead told said this afternoon he's hearing from I.C.E. officials that more information about this effort, who was targeted, and how many people were taken into custody, will be released Friday.
FBI and immigration agents raided a West Side house today, arresting one man on a federal weapons charge and three others, apparently on immigration-related matters.
Cesar Rafael Tejada-Sanchez, 41, of Columbus, who faces the weapons charge, was taken to Cincinnati to face a judge, FBI spokesman Mike Brooks said.
Tejada-Sanchez, whom Brooks said agents think is a convicted felon, was taken into custody after agents served a warrant at a home at 897 Maurine Dr., near Briggs Road, and west of Franklin Heights High School.
Brooks said Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took three others into custody.
Nothing is known about them. An immigration agent in Columbus said he knew nothing about the raid. An ICE agent in Cincinnati referred a phone call to ICE spokesman Greg Palmore in Detroit, who did not return calls or an e-mail.
About 10:30 a.m., agents were seen bringing out two men in handcuffs and leg cuffs from the light-blue, split-level home. Another agent brought out a plastic container loaded with items.
Brooks said the search warrant and affidavit are sealed and wouldn’t be opened until charges were filed out of the warrant.
The 46-year-old house has been owned by Edgar and Robin Cajigal since 1997. A van with a rear window emblem reading “Estados Unidos Mexicanos” (“U.S. Mexicans’’) was in the driveway.
Edgar Cajigal said he used to live there with his family but has been renting the house for about three years. Cajigal, who now lives in Jackson Township, said he knew nothing about the raid.
He said the renters always have paid on time, and he’s heard no complaints from neighbors. He said he didn’t know Tejada-Sanchez.
Neighbors who didn’t want to be identified said they noticed a lot of activity at the Maurine Drive house in the past year, with vehicles stopping in front of the house and quickly leaving.
“We knew something suspicious was happening,” one neighbor said.
“I’m glad they did something.”
Skipping School Gets 2 Sisters Deported
By KENNETH DEAN
(Posted on Saturday, February 23, 2008)
WINONA - Skipping school is usually met with fines and the threat of jail time; but, for two sisters, the punishment was much worse - they were deported.
Smith County Justice of the Peace Mitch Shamburger said he presided over truancy court last month when Brisa and Lluva Amante, both 17, snickered in his courtroom.
The John Tyler High School students were before him for skipping school and Shamburger said he fined them each for the action and told them to go to school every day and not to come back to his courtroom.
"I thought they would take it seriously and I wouldn't see them again," he said Friday.
However, the twins and a younger sister were brought before him on Feb. 14 for another charge of truancy.
"I asked them if they didn't understand and they just kind of snickered," he said.
Shamburger said he instructed the bailiff to handcuff the two sisters and hoped that would sober up their mood.
"It cut down on the giggling, but they stood against the wall and still kind of laughed," he said.
Shamburger said he called the two teens in front of his bench and told them they were both adults in the eyes of the law and he was sending them to the Smith County Jail to do time for skipping school.
"I told the deputy constable that if the twins had a come to Jesus meeting then he could turn around, but they didn't so he proceeded to the jail to book them in," he said.
What happened next took Shamburger by surprise."The officer called me and said I wouldn't have to worry about them skipping school anymore because ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) placed a hold on them and was deporting them back to El Salvador," he said.
Shamburger said he hoped the girls would learn a lesson from visiting the jail, but was not prepared for the news.
"In all of my years on the bench I have never had someone deported for truancy," he said.
Lancaster man files wrongful deportation lawsuit
By CIARAN MCEVOY, City News Service 28.FEB.08
A 30-year-old developmentally disabled U.S. citizen filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday claiming that immigration officials, assisted by Southland law enforcement, mistakenly and illegally deported him to Mexico.
Lancaster resident Pedro “Peter’’ Guzman and his mother, Maria Carbajal, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. It names the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as two of its defendants.
An emotional Carbajal, flanked by her attorneys and family members at a news conference Wednesday morning, said her son was still traumatized by his ordeal.
Guzman, who was born in East Los Angeles and grew up in Los Angeles County, was deported in May 2007 after his conviction on a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said Guzman repeatedly told deputies and ICE officials that he was born in Mexico and even listed a city and date.
“The whole story is not being told,’’ he said.
At at news conference at the ACLU’s Los Angeles office, attorney Mark Rosenbaum called the government’s version of events “unmitigated lies.’’
Representatives from ICE were not immediately available for comment.
According to the lawsuit, Guzman was bused from a Los Angeles County jail to Tijuana where he was dropped off with the clothes on his back and three dollars in his pocket.
Guzman was stranded in northwestern Mexico for 85 days after being deported, the lawsuit said.
Cognitively impaired, having a poor memory, and unable to read above a second-grade level, he survived by begging, eating out of trash cans and bathed in rivers, the lawsuit said.
Carbajal temporarily left her job at a Jack in the Box restaurant to search for her son. Guzman’s family looked for him in Tijuana’s most dangerous neighborhoods, jails and hospitals, the ACLU said. Carbajal scanned online photos of the dead from a Tijuana morgue, the ACLU said.
Carbajal was first notified that her son had been deported when her daughter-in-law called her with the information after Guzman tried telephoning one of his brothers, the ACLU said.
A gaunt, weary Guzman was eventually located after being detained in Calexico by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, who noticed that Guzman had an active warrant for failing to contact his probation officer, the lawsuit said. Guzman was then jailed on the warrant before his eventual release, the lawsuit said.
Guzman is now back in Lancaster with his family, Carbajal said.
The lawsuit also claims that ICE failed to help Guzman’s family locate him.
Addressing reporters Wednesday, Jim Brosnahan, an attorney for the San Francisco-based law firm Morrison & Foerster who is representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, denounced ICE and the Sheriff’s Department for what he said was racism against Latinos.
“Part of the immigration service is out of control,’’ he said. “What happened here is a disgrace.’’
Rosenbaum agreed. “Our government treated the color of Guzman’s skin as conclusive, irrefutable evidence that Peter was not and could not be a U.S. citizen,’’ he said.
Guzman’s recent problems stem from his March 2007 arrest for allegedly attempting to board an airplane at General William J. Fox Airfield Airport in Lancaster and for allegedly trying to steal a truck, according to court documents.
During his initial booking process in jail, Guzman participated in an attack on another inmate, according to his police report, which was attached with the lawsuit.Also attached to the lawsuit was Guzman’s birth certificate, which lists his place of birth as Los Angeles County.Guzman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of trespassing and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.During his stay in jail, Guzman suffered a head injury from what he said was a fall, the lawsuit said. He was subsequently prescribed psychotropic drugs after telling jail officials he was hearing voices, the lawsuit said.
On April 26, 2007, Guzman was interviewed by Sandra Figueras, a custodial assistant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the lawsuit said.
On May 10, 2007, Guzman — who has a limited understanding of Spanish — signed a form that effectively removed his legal rights to a deportation hearing and stated that he was a citizen of Mexico, the lawsuit said.
Guzman “could not read and did not understand the contents’’ of the form, according to the lawsuit.
Rosenbaum said Wednesday that the Sheriff’s Department and ICE ignored documentation that said Guzman was a U.S. citizen.
In June 2007, ACLU said it asked a federal judge to order ICE to make “reasonable and diligent efforts’’ to locate Guzman.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages as well as attorneys’ fees and a declaration that the actions of ICE and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were unconstitutional.
Dawn patrol: ICE agents rise early to nab, deport fugitives
By Jennifer W. Sanchez The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 02/28/2008 06:24:11 AM MST
MURRAY - They assembled before the sun came up, about 5 a.m., in a brown-brick office building in a quiet business park, ready to hit the streets in search of the day's top "targets." Six immigration agents formulated a plan to individually surprise and arrest six undocumented immigrants from various countries - including Finland, Honduras and Tonga - in the Salt Lake Valley.
"Are there any questions? If not, let's roll," said an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, who works undercover for the agency and cannot be identified.
About four times a week, Fugitive Operation Team members in Utah go looking for "illegal aliens," or "fugitives," who have been ordered by an immigration judge to leave the United States and didn't. When the agents aren't out on the street, they're investigating their next round of targets.
Cases are prioritized, with those deemed to be threats to national security or having criminal backgrounds at the top of the list. Most of the undocumented immigrants they pick up in Utah are from Mexico, the Pacific Islands and Central and South America, said Steven Branch, ICE Salt Lake City Field Office director.
"It's very diverse here in Utah," said Branch, who has worked for U.S. immigration for 29 years.
Last year, the Utah team arrested and deported 536 undocumented immigrants in its first year of operation. Since October,it has deported 306 of them - an average of 17 people a week, Branch said.
On Tuesday, dressed in black with jackets that read "POLICE / ICE" on the back, the agents separated into a truck, an SUV and a minivan, and headed to the home of Target No. 1, a Mexican charged with assault. They drove through the fog in the dark into an aging downtown Salt Lake City neighborhood near West High School. They parked in an alley behind the white, two-story home. Agents knocked on the door and others surrounded the house in case someone tried to make a run for it.
"You go out to a house and you don't know what to expect," Branch said. "You just hope for the best."
It's rare that ICE officials have a search warrant to enter homes, but people usually let them in when asked, Branch said. Agents usually only have arrest warrants for fugitives.
Arturo Elias Cedillo Robles, 39, answered the door and told officers that Target No. 1 was working a graveyard shift and would return about 7:30 a.m. Agents asked Robles for his U.S. documentation, which he did not have. So agents arrested him, put handcuffs on his wrists and a chain around his waist, with an escort taking him to the minivan. His job as a welder at a downtown company would have to wait.
The agents then drove about 20 minutes to West Valley City to arrest Target No. 2 - Mahe Odu, a 40-year-old Tongan man with assault, domestic violence and unlawful detention charges stemming from 2003. When they knocked at the front door of the two-story house, Odu unsuccessfully tried escaping through the back. Agents later found him hiding in the bathroom.
Odu's wife of 15 years, Ele, woke up their six kids, ages 2 to 14, so they could say goodbye to their father. Odu, who moved to Utah seven years ago on a tourist visa that expired, said the family was able to say a quick prayer before he was arrested.
"I asked the heavenly father to bless us and bless our family," said Odu, who calls himself a devout Mormon who volunteers at his church.
About 6:45 a.m., with the sun rising, the agents headed a few blocks away to another two-story home looking for Target No. 3, a man from Finland. When they got there, the woman at the door claimed to be the man's mother-in-law. She told agents he had returned to Finland with her daughter. Agents will need to have that verified before closing the case, Branch said.
Another few blocks away, agents went after Target No. 4, a man from Honduras. But, the woman at the door claimed it had been two or three years since she had rented a room to him and had no idea where he was living.
By 7:30 a.m., some agents began returning to the ICE office because most of the fugitives would have already left for work. Other agents returned to the house in Salt lake City to try to catch Target No. 1
For now, Targets No. 5, 6 and 7, from Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, respectively, are safe.
Back at the ICE office, the undocumented immigrants were fingerprinted, photographed and put in one of two holding cells with graffiti on the walls.
Agents learned that Robles had been caught in 2004 by the U.S. Border Patrol in Arizona for trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Most likely, Robles will be quickly deported, an agent said. However, it wouldn't surprise them if Robles was back at work by Monday.
"They'll probably be back in Mexico, kiss mom on the cheek, and be back in Utah," the agent said.
As for Odu, agents said he will definitely be returned to Tonga, but might end up in jail for months waiting for a Tongan passport to travel.
Odu, a construction worker, said he's still going to try to figure out a way to legally stay in Utah, home to his mother, brothers and sisters. He said he's worried about how his wife and children are going to survive without him. He'll miss taking his kids to school.
"I never married to separate," he said. "I married to stay as a family." firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Investigates Deportation Problem
UPDATED: 12:43 pm MST February 28, 2008
PHOENIX -- Illegal immigrant sex offenders sneaking across the Mexican border into Arizona revealed a problem with the way criminals are being deported, a CBS 5 investigation uncovered.
When an illegal immigrant commits a crime in Arizona he or she is sent to jail or prison and then deported back to Mexico. However, 5 Investigates uncovered that instead of dropping the offenders deep into Mexico; they are being dropped off right at the border.
5 Investigates videotaped an Immigration and Customs Enforcement van carrying two illegal immigrants, who just finished serving prison, to the border.
Upon arriving at the border, the offenders stepped out, were handed their belongings and set free.
5 Investigates interviewed the men on what they planned to do next; one man said he planned to turn around and attempt to go back to California where his family lives.
Federal officials, such as Katrina Kane from ICE, said they face difficulties as their ways of deportation are limited.
"It's not the only way that we're deporting them. It's one of the ways we are deporting, you know, individuals to Mexico," said Kane.
Others disagree and believe there are better ways to ensure people charged with sex crimes do not re-enter society.
Scott Berkowitz of RAINN, an organization that lobbies Congress of behalf of rape victims, said he believes prison may be the best way to deal with those charges with sex crimes.
"The best thing we can do is keep them in prison for a much longer time," Berkowitz said.
Border Patrol agents report seeing illegal immigrants every night attempting to cross the border, many of them sex offenders.
Last year, on a small sector of thoroughfare near Nogales, Border Patrol caught nearly 400 offenders trying to sneak across in this one area alone.
Border Patrol Agent Mike Scioli revealed to 5 Investigates just how frequent these convicts enter back into the country.
"Within just the last week, we caught three major sex offenders and it was anything from lewd acts with a minor to child molestation; I believe one was a rape victim or sexual assault," Scioli said.
Agents said they identified sex offenders from North Carolina, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa and California that were deported to Mexico and then turned around and re-entered the U.S. at the Arizona border.
Police said the Chandler rapist was one of these offenders.
The Chandler rapist is an illegal immigrant who was deported twice from California to Mexico.
Sex offenders and other ex-cons caught re-entering the U.S. face new prison terms up to 20 years.
However, the convicts 5 Investigates interviewed said the consequences of getting caught will not stop them from attempting to re-enter the U.S.
Three Arrested In ICE Raid On Alleged Immigrant Smuggling
POSTED: 10:22 am PST February 28, 2008
LOS ANGELES -- Three people who allegedly smuggled hundreds of illegal immigrants a month into the Los Angeles area were under arrest Thursday, according to Customs and Immigration Enforcement.
Francisco Andres Pedro, 35, of Guatemala, Elvira Bartolo Sebastian, 37, and Juana Domingo Juan, 39, both of Guatemala, were arrested Wednesday during an ICE raid.
Three other suspects are also in custody. Francisco Andres Francisco, 39, of Guatemala, is being held in Pennsylvania; Juan Jimenez-Pascual, 23, of Guatemala, is being held in Utah; and Henry Rodriguez-Sanchez, 27, is being held in Pennsylvania.
Sebastian is the wife of Francisco Andres Francisco.
The ringleaders are believed to be Francisco Andres Francisco, Francisco Andres Pedro and Francisco Pedro Francisco, who is being sought along with six accomplices.
Authorities called the operation the Francisco ring because the three leaders are all named Francisco.
ICE began investigating the ring in May 2005 when the Los Angeles Police Department found two smuggling "drop houses" in a 24-hour period in South Los Angeles that were occupied by more than 140 illegal immigrants.
The investigation uncovered an organization run by Guatemalan nationals that provided housing and transportation to Los Angeles for illegal immigrants who already had been smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border to Phoenix, ICE reported.
The illegal immigrants were held in drop houses in Los Angeles and in Lancaster before being driven to other cities nationwide, ICE reported.
The ring's clients -- primarily foreign nationals from Central America -- paid the organization $1,200 to $3,700 each for the domestic part of their journey, ICE reported.
"This probe has dealt a serious blow to one of the largest human smuggling operations uncovered on the West Coast in recent years," said Jennifer Silliman, deputy special agent in charge of ICE investigations in Los Angeles.
"Based on our investigation, we suspect this ring was transporting more than 100 illegal aliens a week into this area," Silliman said.
"The human smuggling trade is a ruthless, greed-driven enterprise that puts communities at risk and generates billions of dollars in illicit proceeds," Silliman said. "That is why attacking and dismantling these organizations is one of ICE's top enforcement priorities."
During yesterday's raids, ICE agents served warrants at several residences in Los Angeles and Lancaster, and also collected evidence at the San Francisco 99 Cent Store on South Main Street in Los Angeles, which GAs otnad "y Francisco Andres Francisco and his wife.
The business allegedly served as a staging area for immigrants being transported in vans and SUVs to cities across the country. Among items seized were smuggling-client registers commonly known as "pollo" books," ICE reported.
One of the suspects, Pedro, was expected to make his first appearance this morning in federal court in Los Angeles.
3 illegals charged after Lindon raid
Grace Leong - DAILY HERALD
Three workers arrested during an immigration raid earlier this month at Universal Industrial Sales of Lindon were charged with illegally re-entering the country after being deported, according to federal criminal indictments returned by a grand jury on Wednesday. The three workers, all Mexican nationals, face up to two years in federal prison if convicted.
Juan Carlos Ibanez-Tovar, 29, is charged with illegally re-entering the United States after he was deported on April 26, 2001. Alejandro Sanchez-Manjarez, 25, is charged with re-entering the country after he was deported on Sept. 22, 2006. Gerardo Reyes Montelongo-Martinez, 35, is charged with re-entering the United States after being deported on Dec. 21, 2002.
According to the grand jury indictment, the three men violated federal laws when they failed to get approval from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to re-enter the country.
The three men were among 57 illegal workers arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Feb. 7, which took out more than half of Universal's 100-plus work force in Lindon. Of the 57 men arrested, 51 were immigrants from Mexico, two were from Argentina, two from Uruguay, one from El Salvador and one from Honduras, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.
Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Utah, said federal prosecutors received five of the 57 cases for criminal prosecution. "I can't say if there are more indictments coming. But initial appearances for the three men are scheduled next week, and they'll have an opportunity to enter a plea, and a trial schedule will be set," she said.
ICE also referred 30 of those cases to the Utah County Attorney's Office for criminal prosecution. The 30 workers were charged with third-degree felonies of forgery and identity fraud in 4th District Court two weeks ago.
The ICE raid was conducted at the same time two indictments by the U.S. Attorney's Office were unsealed on Feb. 7.
Universal, a maker of guard rails, bridge rails and signs, was charged with 10 criminal counts of harboring illegal immigrants, all of whom were employed between January 2003 and December 2006, according to the indictment filed on Jan. 23.
A second federal indictment, charged Alejandro "Alex" Urrutia-Garcia, 39, a human-resources director at Universal, with two counts of encouraging or inducing illegal workers to stay in the United States. He faces a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison for each count. The 39-year-old Provo man pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was conditionally released from ICE custody because officials didn't consider him a flight risk or a danger to the community. A four-day trial on his case is scheduled to start April 14.
Attorney James Gilson entered a not guilty plea in U.S. District Court on Tuesday on behalf of Universal Industrial Sales. For each count, the company faces a penalty of up to $500,000 or twice the amount of profits gained from the employee's work, whichever is greater.
The last immigration sweep in Utah involved Swift & Co.'s meat processing plant in Hyrum. That ICE raid was part of a national sweep of six Swift processing plants in December 2006, which led to the arrests of nearly 1,300 illegal immigrants nationwide who had stolen the identities of legal immigrants and U.S. citizens, and used their Social Security numbers to get jobs at the company. Nearly 200 illegal immigrants were arrested in Utah in that raid.
The arrested meatpacking workers are immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Peru, Laos, Sudan, Ethiopia and other countries. Of the 1,282 arrests, 1,217 were on immigration charges and 65 on criminal charges, including identity theft.
Teen U.S. citizen says she was terrified during immigration raid
By Eunice Moscoso Wednesday, February 13, 2008, 06:20 PM
Marie Justeen Mancha, an American citizen and high school honor student from Reidsville, Ga., told lawmakers Wednesday that she was terrified when four federal agents stormed into her house, screaming, “Police! Illegals!”
“My heart just dropped,” she said. “When the tall man reached for his gun, I just stood there feeling so scared. I could’ve busted out in tears, but I had to be strong and hold it in.”
Mancha, who was 15 years old at the time and alone in her home, testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law, about the incident, which occurred in conjunction with a September 2006 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid at a poultry plant in nearby Stillmore. Ga.
“I carry that fear with me every day, wondering when they’ll come back,” she said, in a heavy southern accent.
Mancha was born in Texas and moved to Reidsville when she was 7 years-old. Her mother, who was born in Florida, was also at the hearing.
The panel was examining incidents in which U.S. citizens were questioned, detained or even deported in ICE raids.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who chairs the committee, said that she feared we have arrived in an era “where an overzealous government is interrogating, detaining and deporting its own citizens while treating non-citizens even worse.”
Gary Mead, assistant director for detention and removal at ICE, told the panel that his agency has “never knowingly or intentionally detained or removed a U.S. citizen.
In the “highly unlikely” event that an ICE officer determines that a U.S. citizen has been mistakenly deported, ICE takes appropriate action to locate the citizen and ensure immediate repatriation to the United States at no expense to the person, he said.
In the past four years, ICE has detained more than 1 million people and deported only one U.S. citizen, he said. That person — Peter Guzman — told ICE agents that he was a Mexican citizen, Mead said.
Students apprehended by ICE at Vernon and Main in LA- Mtg. Tonight
Wednesday Feb 27th, 2008 2:28 PM
EMERGENCY COMMUNITY MEETING TONIGHT!!!
MIGRA OUT OF OUR COMMUNITY!!! DEPORTEN A LA MIGRA!!! STOP THE ICE RAIDS!!!
Who: EVERYone is welcomed and encouraged to attend!!!
Meeting is being organized by the FRENTE CONTRA las REDADAS, UNION DEL BARRIO and other community organizations.
Where: Santee Education Complex 1921 Maple Ave (Washington & Maple)
When: TODAY, Wednesday Feb, 27, 2008 6:00PM - 7:00PM
ENOUGH is ENOUGH!! YA BASTA!!
Union Del Barrio and the Frente Contra las Redadas- South Central has confirmed that early this morning ICE Agents attacked and kidnapped people from a residence in are neighborhood of San Pedro Blvd. and Adams Blvd. We are still investigating the incident to get more details.
This same morning, two students from Jefferson High School who were going to the site of the ICE Raid to see what was going on were also apprehended by ICE on the corners of Vernon and Main . A teacher from Jefferson High School has confirmed that one student was taken into custody and that the other student was released at the scene.
We are making the call out so that we can have a community meeting tonight and so that we can continue to organize in our communities so that we know how to defend ourselves from these ICE attacks!
See you at the meeting tonight!!
Ron Gochez Social Justice Educator/Community Organizer
Immigration officials conduct enforcement action in Worthington
by Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
February 27, 2008
St. Paul, Minn. — Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirm that an immigration enforcement action is underway in Worthington and in Sioux Falls, S.D.
U.s. Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials will not say how many people have been arrested.
Attorney Gloria Contreras Edin with Central Legal in the Twin Cities said her group has spoken by telephone with three people detained by ICE in the Nobles County jail in Worthington.
"ICE agents have knocked on individual family doors, family home doors, and are looking for individuals who've had prior orders for deportation," said Contreras-Edin.
Nobles County jail officials could not be reached for comment.
There is no indication the latest action stems from the fatal bus crash in Cottonwood involving a woman who officials say is in the country illegally.
Earlier this week ICE officials conducted raids in other Midwestern states, including Wisconsin and Illinois.
Two major ICE enforcement actions in Minnesota in the last 15 months have resulted in nearly 300 arrests.
ICE processes 57 arrested in raid as criminal charges are considered
By Roxana Orellana The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 02/09/2008 01:07:02 AM MST
Thirty cases will be forwarded to the Utah County Attorney's Office for possible criminal charges from Thursday's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid at a metal factory in Utah County.
"We expect most people arrested yesterday will be ordered for deportation eventually," said Tim Counts, ICE spokesman. "We intend to continue detaining all of those arrested while we are sorting through the cases and deciding which ones to present for prosecution."
Early Friday, ICE officials wrapped up processing of the 57 men arrested during a raid at Universal Industrial Sales Inc. in Lindon. The company makes metal highway signs and guardrails.
Counts said it would be up to the Attorney's Office to determine which of the 30 cases will be prosecuted for offenses, which could include identity theft, forgery and document fraud. A decision is expected within a week.
One man was conditionally released for health reasons. The rest remain in custody at the Utah County and Weber County jails.
"There is a whole range of different possibilities for custody status or release status while someone is awaiting their hearings," Counts said. "Those type of things may likely start happening next week."
What comes next for the detainees depends on each of their cases.
All 57 will be placed in deportation proceedings. The process includes the right to a hearing before a federal immigration judge, who makes the decision whether the person should be deported. If the person does not show up for a hearing, the judge can order deportation and a warrant for arrest. Another option is a stipulated removal in which the person chooses not to go before a judge, and a deportation order is written, signed and reviewed by a judge. Counts said ICE also may offer at its discretion voluntary departure for a detainee.
A person charged criminally will be transferred to the Utah County sheriff or the U.S. Marshal. If found guilty, the detainee could be given prison time and a fine. Once time has been served and fines paid, the detainee is turned back to ICE for deportation proceedings.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
"Wendy Castañeda of Provo becomes emotional Thursday as she tries to figure out where her husband is following an immigration raid in Lindon. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents Thursday morning raided the Universal Industrial Sales steel business in Lindon, where they arrested 50 people following an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune)"
50 workers arrested in immigration raid at Utah County business
By Russ Rizzo and Jennifer W. Sanchez
LINDON -- Fifty workers at a Utah County metal factory were arrested this morning during a surprise immigration raid. That comprises half of the employees at Universal Industrial Sales in Lindon, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, which today released previously sealed indictments charging the company and its human resource manager with harboring illegal aliens. About 100 Immigration and Customs Enforcement showed up unannounced at the company's warehouses about 8 a.m. and began arresting workers, said ICE spokesman Tim Counts. By 11 a.m., agents had arrested 50 people, according to the Department of Justice.
The company produces metal highway signs and guard rails. Company officials are cooperating with the investigation, Counts said. Managers could not immediately reached for comment. Workers found to be in the country illegally were taken taken by van to the Provo ICE office to be processed. But Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney for Utah, said there were no arrest warrants issued for the workers and none were booked into jail, though they were to receive orders to appear at hearings in front of a federal immigration judge.
The human resource manager, Alejandro Urrutia-Garcia, made his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon and pleaded not guilty. He faces up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine on each count. Urrutia-Garcia was released from government custody but must appear in court for a hearing next week. A four-day trial is set to begin April 14.
Relatives drove around the company's building and stopped to ask officials questions about the people they knew who might have been arrested. One man said he started getting phone calls about 8 a.m. from friends who worked at Universal and said an immigration raid was happening.
The company, housed in a large red building, sits in an industrial area amid open fields in Lindon, a small town located between Pleasant Grove and Orem.
ICE agents this morning contacted the Utah Health and Human Rights project and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services to help take care of children who may be left home alone following the raid, Counts said.
"Everyone will have the opportunity to make other arrangements to makes sure there is another parent or responsible adult to take care of their children," Counts said.
Anyone wanting information on Universal Industrial Sales workers who may be affected is asked to call an ICE hotline: 1-866-341-3858.
The indictment against the company covers the years 2003 through 2006. If found guilty, the company could be fined either $500,000 or twice the amount gained by using undocumented workers, according to the Department of Justice.
A community meeting for relatives of those arrested in the raid is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at St. Francis Catholic Church in Orem, 65 East 500 N.
Authorities raid California business
02.08.08, 2:22 PM ET
LOS ANGELES (AP) - More than 100 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided a printer supply manufacturer in the San Fernando Valley on Thursday, taking into custody about 120 employees for being in the country illegally and arresting eight on federal criminal charges, authorities said.
The raid at the offices of Micro Solutions Enterprises began around 3:30 p.m., said Virginia Kice, an ICE spokeswoman, who said the basis for the criminal warrant that led to the raid was under seal.
The eight people were arrested for allegedly providing fraudulent information to get their jobs, Kice said.
All of the 120 people taken into custody for illegal immigration status were interviewed for what Kice called 'humanitarian issues.' About 40, including the elderly and those with children, were released to await a hearing before an immigration judge, Kice said.
Approximately 80 more remained in the custody of immigration officials for potential deportation.
The American Civil Liberties Union said it is offering free legal representation to anyone taken into custody.
'We're very concerned that people who were detained be given the opportunity to meet with a lawyer who can advise them of their rights,' said ACLU lawyer Ahilan Arulanantham. 'Some of them may be eligible for release on bond.'
Arulanantham said ACLU attorneys who rushed to the scene of the raid were not allowed to talk to detainees.
Micro Solutions Enterprises, which manufactures and distributes toner cartridges, inkjets and other printer accessories, is family owned and operates facilities in California, Pennsylvania, Mexico and Canada, according to its Web site.
A message left after hours with the company was not immediately returned.