Border Patrol Agents Find 51 Illegal Aliens In Tractor Trailer
Saturday, 31 May 2008
Laredo, Texas May 28, 2008 – Border Patrol agents from the Laredo North station disrupted a human smuggling attempt and rescued 51 people today.
At about 2:30 a.m, agents working at the Border Patrol checkpoint north of Laredo conducted an immigration inspection of the driver of a tractor trailer. As an agent talked to the driver a Border Patrol canine alerted on the trailer, indicating the presence of hidden contraband or people.
Agents opened the sealed trailer and found 51 people sitting atop and among crates of avocados. They were all identified as illegal aliens from Mexico. The group included three children, ages 5, 10 and 16. The temperature inside the refrigerated trailer was 57 degrees.
The driver was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
To report suspicious activity such as drug and/or alien smuggling, contact the Laredo Sector Border Patrol toll free telephone number at 1-800-343-1994.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Border Patrol Agents Find 51 Illegal Aliens In Tractor Trailer
Jail expansion in the works
By NICHOLAS DESHAIS • Times Herald • May 31, 2008
The St. Clair County Board of Commissioners may act on expanding the jail this week, making room for about 50 more U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement prisoners at the Port Huron Township facility.
“Shortly after we opened, we were approached by ICE. They were seeking beds from us,” Major Tom Torrey, the jail’s superintendent said. “Due to our locality and state-of-the-art facility, they came a-calling.”
Currently, the jail has room for 423 inmates. With the expansion, which has been approved by the Michigan Department of Corrections, 48 additional beds will be installed in existing dormitory space.
Torrey estimated that the beds will cost the jail $30,000, but the county’s administrator, Shaun Groden, said the cost will be more than recouped.
“Even at 50% capacity, we’re making money,” Groden said.
Federal agents arrest man on orders of deportation
STAFF REPORT • May 31, 2008
Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Friday arrested Cesar Augusto Roman-Cusibel of Reno, who was taken to the Washoe County Jail on a deportation hold.
Agents had been looking for Roman-Cusibel, who was born in 1962, since Wednesday, the agency said.
That is when ICE agents visited homes in Reno and Sparks in search of fugitive immigrants already under deportation orders and who have criminal records in the United States.
Agents made one arrest on Wednesday, Jose D. Mejia, 43, a Sparks resident from El Salvador who has a record for robbery.
He's been under final deportation orders since September.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Immigration and Customs Enforcement swept the Reno area, made an arrest
Posted: May 29, 2008 08:41 PM EDT
El Salvador resident living in Reno was arrested Wednesday and facing deportation after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swept the Reno area.
Officials say the enforcement action by ICE agents targeted fugitive aliens already under deportation orders with criminal records in the United States.
The agents found Jose D. Mejia, 43, legal resident of El Salvador, at a Sparks apartment complex.
Immigration officers say Mejia was under a final deportation order issued in Sept., and will most likely be deported to his native El Salvador.
Cops nab van of illegals near Avon
Police say the vehicle was carrying 12 people
By Steve Lynn
Eagle County Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO
May 30, 2008
AVON, Colorado — An illegal immigrant accused of transporting 11 other illegal immigrants on Interstate 70 through Avon was arrested Thursday morning.
Esqaiel Casares Montiel, 22, of Mexico, was heading east to Chicago with eight men and three women in a Chevrolet minivan when he was pulled over by Avon Police about 9:30 a.m., said Chief Brian Kozak of the Avon Police Department.
Someone saw the crowded minivan and reported it to police, Kozak said. The tires were almost flat from all the weight and two people were lying under one of the rear seats in the minivan that was designed to hold seven people, Kozak said.
The passengers, all from Mexico, paid a person in their country and were given instructions on how to cross the border and how to meet with Montiel at a gas station in Phoenix, Kozak said.
Montiel was arrested on suspicion of human smuggling and forgery, both felonies, and reckless endangerment and driving without a license, Kozak said. He is being held in Eagle County jail, Kozak said.
Montiel also gave police a Mexican driver’s license under his brother’s name, Kozak said.
The other illegal immigrants, who planned to look for jobs in Chicago, were detained in Glenwood Springs by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Kozak said.
Officers: 15 Immigrants Found In Apartment
POSTED: 7:57 am MST May 30, 2008
PHOENIX -- Officers found 15 illegal immigrants in a one-bedroom apartment Thursday, Phoenix police said.
Police said they received a tip from a neighbor at the apartment complex near 37th Street and McDowell Road reporting large numbers of people entering and leaving the apartment overnight.
Officers knocked on the door of the unit and said they heard people inside, though no one answered the door.
Police obtained a search warrant and forced their way into the apartment. Inside, they said they found 15 illegal immigrants, some of whom tried to hide in the bathroom.
Police said one of the men in the apartment was believed to be a human smuggler.
All of the immigrants were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Police said tips from alert neighbors are what usually lead them to drop houses.
Officials say four Brazilians will be deported
Had prior arrests
Four of the seven Brazilians taken into custody after a traffic stop Wednesday in Keene had prior arrests for immigration violations and a federal judge had issued warrants to have them deported.
"They had outstanding warrants, which means they will be removed from the U.S.," said Paula M. Grenier, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "They're in our custody now."
The other three Brazilians have been charged with their first immigration violations.
Their cases will go to Immigration Court in Boston, where a federal judge will decide whether they should be deported, Grenier said.
Police Sweep North County City For Illegal Immigrants
Immigrants With Criminal Records Targeted
Troy Hirsch, NBC 7/39 Reporter
POSTED: 8:30 am PDT May 30, 2008
ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- Police in Escondido are scouring the North County city for illegal immigrants with criminal records.
Officers have a list of more than 100 people who have criminal records and have already been formally deported. They believe these people are dangerous, and they want to move them out of Escondido for good.
"We're not about just taking people because they are illegal," said Escondido police Officer Russ Whitaker. "If they're formally deported and they have a criminal history, those are the people we want out."
Whitaker spent Wednesday and Thursday driving around, searching for what he called "targets."
"We started out with 38 fixed targets -- people we have some sort of address on. We have a lot more than that," Whitaker said.
Working with members of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Whitaker and other Escondido police officers fanned through their list of nearly 100 names and keep an eye out on the street.
Whitaker knocks on doors, and even if he doesn't find a target, he believes the search makes a difference.
"It's a success knocking on the door and friends and family sees us knocking on the door and they get the message and leave the city," Whitaker said.
This week's sweep is the third made by the Escondido Police Department since it adopted the policy of targeting formally deported illegal immigrants with a criminal history. During these sweeps, Whitaker said he has seen the same people more than once, like an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who they caught while he was riding a bicycle.
Whitaker said that police arrested nine people during the two-day sweep. That was fewer arrests than on the previous two sweeps, but Whitaker said it shows that the policy is starting to work.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Search warrants served in Benld
May 28, 2008 - 11:04PM
By MAGGIE BORMAN
BENLD - Two federal search warrants were executed Wednesday in Benld, and four male Mexican nationals were taken into custody, authorities said.
Gail Montenegro, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed the execution of the warrants Wednesday evening.
"As part of an ongoing criminal work site investigation, ICE agents executed search warrants Wednesday at a Benld residence and a restaurant," Montenegro said.
Montenegro declined to release the names of the four male Mexican nationals who were taken into ICE custody Wednesday on suspicion of immigration violations. She said the four would remain in ICE custody while preparations for deportation are finalized.
Montenegro said the search warrants were executed at a Benld residence and at Toni's Family Restaurant, which she said was located at 2630 Staunton Road in Mount Clare. However, Toni's Family Restaurant has a listing on the World Wide Web that shows its street address as 2630 Staunton Road in Benld.
Immigration officials put hold on suspect in deadly prom-night crash
By DANIEL BROWNSTEIN
Published Thursday, May 29, 2008
Federal officials are investigating the immigration status of the alleged drunken driver charged in the crash that claimed the life of Bluffton High School junior Josh George as he headed home after the prom.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on 20-year-old Juan Rodriquez, who is being held on a $750,905 bond at the Beaufort County Detention Center.
The hold means Rodriquez might be deported after he is either found not guilty or serves a prison sentence, said an ICE spokesman. Citing privacy issues, ICE would not comment on whether Rodriquez is in the country legally, the spokesman said.
The hold "... means that ICE has determined that further investigation of his legal status is warranted," said Philip Foot, director of the county jail.
The jail automatically sends the name of every non-native born inmate to ICE, Foot said. A final decision on whether a suspected illegal immigrant is deported is made in an immigration court operated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Authorities still aren't sure of Rodriquez' true identity. His fingerprints were sent to the FBI, which compared them with a national database. No matches were found, said Lt. Bryan Norberg of the Bluffton Police Department.
The suspect was booked as Juan Rodriquez at the county jail, the name he gave officers after his arrest early May 18, less than a half-hour after the wreck that killed George, 17.
At a bond hearing the following day, he told the judge his real name is Juan Jose Olague Roman.
Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone will attempt to indict him under both names during a grand jury session next month.
"In that sense, it really doesn't matter what his real name is," Stone said.
Rodriquez' attorney, Public Defender Gene Hood, did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.
Officers found Rodriquez at his home on Freirson Circle in Bluffton by following a trail of car parts left on the road. In the driveway, they discovered a green Subaru sedan with
extensive front-end damage that matched car parts found at the scene, police said.
Rodriquez, a painter from either Honduras or Mexico, rented a room in the home shared by approximately 10 people, police said.
He has been charged with felony DUI resulting in death, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, driving without a South Carolina driver's license, operating an uninsured vehicle and failure to yield right of way.
If convicted, he could receive up to 50 years in prison and fines of up to $50,200.
The crash occurred just before 3 a.m. May 18 at the intersection of Buck Island Road and Bluffton Parkway. George had just dropped off his girlfriend and two friends after a party and was headed home.
The gifted student and captain of the school's varsity soccer team died two days later at a Savannah hospital. He was an organ donor.
He was laid to rest Saturday next to his father, Maj. Aaron C. George, after a private graveside service in Huntington, W. Va.
The elder George died in July 2001 when the F-16 he was piloting crashed in a remote mountainous area near Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Their tone was conversational: "Where were you born?" they asked. "Are you a United States citizen?" If the answer was yes, they'd move on. Martinez looked at Tiffany. "What do I do?" she asked. Tiffany told her to stay calm.
"Are you a United States citizen?" an agent asked Martinez. She nervously handed over a California identification card, but the agent wouldn't accept it. Martinez, speaking Spanish as Tiffany translated, told them about her sons. She took out her Bible, which held small photographs of them.
According to Tiffany, the agent dismissed this, saying, "I don't care about your sons." (The Border Patrol would not confirm this.) They said Martinez was resisting arrest, handcuffed her, and took her off the train. Tiffany and Edward tried to go with her. "They told us to sit back down," Tiffany says. "They didn't give us any contact information."
Martinez says she spent a week in an Erie jail, then was moved to a prison in Cambria County where she was held for another week. She eventually called the Mexican consulate in Philadelphia. The representative immediately called Meredith Rapkin, an attorney at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Philadelphia.
Martinez had only about a minute to tell her story. She emphasized what the Border Patrol agents either didn't hear or didn't care about: that inside her Bible were pictures of her two sons. Both were photographed wearing Army uniforms.
One, Jose, is 18 years old and stationed at Fort Drum, near Syracuse.
The other is Tiffany's 19-year-old husband, Francisco. He's stationed in Iraq.
Martinez was released two days later, after Rapkin called U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and explained they were holding the mother of two soldiers. (ICE did not respond to requests for comment.) She was told to report to a deportation officer in Buffalo on June 3, after which she'll receive a court date.
Twenty-three years after Martinez left Oaxaca, the process of sending her back had begun.
It's not guaranteed she'll be deported — illegal immigrants with convincing cases often aren't. Rapkin says Martinez essentially has to pass a three-point test: First, prove that she has qualifying relatives in the country, which should be easy. Then, show she's been in the country continuously for the past 10 years. Perhaps most complicated, she'll have to prove that her children would experience hardship if she were deported.
The irony of Martinez's case is the role post-9/11 policies played in both her arrest and her sons' military service. She was caught because, since the attacks, Erie and other points along the country's northern boundaries have become regular Border Patrol checkpoints. The Amtrak train never left the country, but agents can search any vehicle that comes within 25 miles of Canada, says Lloyd Easterling, assistant chief of the Border Patrol.
It's unclear whether more people are being detained in board-and-question routines; Easterling says the Border Patrol doesn't break down such statistics. But the number of arrests in the area between Erie and Buffalo has been increasing: from 1,517 in 2006 to 2,191 in 2007. This year, so far, agents have arrested 1,994 people. (Agents are also being reassigned from the southwestern part of the country to the north as more join the ranks. Last year, there were 14,900 agents nationwide; this year, 16,200.)
According to Martinez's arrest report, which Easterling says had some portions redacted from his view, the arresting agent did understand that her sons were in the military. But that doesn't necessarily make a difference. "Agents have to be vigilant," he says. "As sworn law enforcement officers, we can be taken into custody for nonfeasance. ... People say you don't have a heart — we do, we do. But until those duties change we have to do them."
Rapkin says no one is asking the Border Patrol to ignore its job. She just thinks they detained someone they shouldn't have.
Jan Ting, a law professor at Temple University and former assistant commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, says the Border Patrol has "been on [its] toes for years since the attacks. No one wants to be the person who makes a mistake and lets the next 9/11 bombers through."
Martinez, obviously, is not a bomber. She's a mother — one who didn't argue when her children wanted to go to a place where bombings are common. "They say they're there so nothing happens here," Martinez says through Tiffany. "[Francisco] thinks he was born to be a soldier. When 9/11 happened, he thought that even more."
She's reminded of this almost every day, when she and her daughter-in-law talk to Francisco via video link. At the same time, though, she awaits a hearing that could remove her from the very country her sons are serving. Again, there are no guarantees.
"She's got a good case," Rapkin says, "but ultimately, it's all up to the judge."
Deported Jamaicans found in middle of Miami River
Posted on Wed, May. 28, 2008
BY ANDRES VIGLUCCI
Amid the busy Memorial Day weekend boat traffic on the Miami River, sharp-eyed Customs and Border Protection marine agents spotted one cruising vessel whose name -- High On the Hog -- they had reason to recognize.
As they stopped and searched the 42-foot Sea Ray near the 12th Avenue Bridge, one of the two crew members jumped in the river and swam away. When the agents looked below deck, they knew why: 30 people were crammed in there, all would-be illegal immigrants. Right off downtown Miami in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.
Even more surprising: All but two were Jamaican, and 17 of those had previously been deported from the United States for having criminal records, agency officials said Wednesday. The other two passengers were from the Dominican Republic.
The first crewman got away. The other, identified only as a Cuban national residing in the United States, was arrested on suspicion of migrant smuggling, said Customs and Border Protection Special Agent Zachary Mann, an agency spokesman. The passengers were being held for questioning by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and are subject to deportation.
Beyond conceding that it was unusual to discover so many Jamaicans attempting illegal entry at once, especially so many previous deportees, Mann was mum on other details, citing an ongoing investigation. The agency did not announce the interdiction for five days.
''It's a significant find,'' Mann said.
It was not entirely coincidental, however. Mann said they picked out the High on the Hog because of an ongoing investigation but he would not elaborate.
''We saw the name and wanted to take a closer look,'' Mann said.
The interdiction comes amid a far-ranging U.S. crackdown in South Florida on the smuggling of illegal aliens from the Caribbean, predominantly from Cuba. Just last week, federal prosecutors charged 26 South Florida suspects with conspiring to smuggle in 225 Cuban migrants in 12 different boat trips. In the preceding month, indictments were also unveiled against 41 other men suspected of smuggling in some 400 Cubans in 20 separate operations.
Saturday's operation may be a lesser-known variation on the usual pattern.
Mann said he did not know where the boat picked up its passengers. But Bahamian immigration authorities have said they suspect Jamaicans deported from the United States are using the islands as a stepping stone for illegal re-entry into the country.
In January, U.S. immigration authorities deported a notorious Jamaican gang leader who had re-entered the country after being kicked out in 2006. Re-entry after deportation is a felony.
Saturday's brazen attempt to smuggle people down the river in broad daylight is not unprecedented. Smugglers sometimes use the cover of busy boating holidays to attempt entry, Mann said, thinking federal officers are not working.
Such attempts, once more common, have been relatively rare in recent years, however. The last to be discovered may have been in 1998, when a decrepit wooden boat disgorged 150 Haitian immigrants on a weekday afternoon on the river near downtown Miami.
In the early 1990s, following the ouster of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, there were a number of interceptions:
In November 1992, about 70 Haitians jumped from a freighter at the old Dupont Plaza hotel on the Miami River downtown and fled in waiting vans. A month later, 117 Haitians were found crammed into the hold of a 70-foot freighter that ran aground off the Port of Miami.
A month after that, the Coast Guard stopped a freighter carrying 351 Haitians at the Port of Miami.
Bridgeton Police Blotter
[other items excluded]
Eugenio Gonzalez, 28, of Walnut Street, was charged with eluding police in a motor vehicle and driving while intoxicated early Saturday after he crashed into a utility pole on Irving Avenue while traveling west.
Gonzalez also was charged with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest and cited for driving while unlicensed, improper passing, failing to keep right and reckless driving.
A suspected illegal immigrant, Gonzalez was lodged in the county jail without bail on a detainer issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE agents make several arrests
The New Mexican and wire services
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said its agents arrested several criminal immigrants Monday in the El Paso office region, which includes Santa Fe.
ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa said no specific information was available about the arrests, but the agents targeted immigrants who are criminals or fugitives. How many people might have been arrested in Santa Fe remained unclear, but a city resident whose son-in-law was arrested said ICE agents in plain clothes pounded on her door just before 8 a.m.
"They never said they were immigration or anything like that," said the woman, who did not want to be identified. "It's not right they called themselves police officers," she said. "They were dressed like normal people. How are people going to feel confident about opening the door to anyone?"
Zamarripa said ICE agents always identify themselves as ICE police and wear blue jackets with those words.
Paterson pardons 'Slick Rick' for crimes
Published: May 24, 2008 at 4:04 PM
NEW YORK, May 24 (UPI) -- New York Gov. David Paterson has given Ricky "Slick Rick" Walters a full pardon for two attempted homicide charges from 1991, the rapper says.
Walters, who has served nearly five years in prison for the crimes, had been facing deportation under a federal statute requiring an immigrant legally living in the United States to be deported if convicted of an aggravated felony or weapons offense, Billboard reported Friday.
The British singer thanked Paterson for his decision to offer him a full pardon, which means he could potentially avoid deportation.
"My family and I are eternally thankful to Governor Paterson, my attorneys and all of the people who have supported me throughout the past 17 years," the "La Di Da Di" singer said. "This has been a long and difficult road and I am happy for this to be settled once and for all. I look forward to enjoying this time with my family and friends and to continue leading an honest and productive life."
Billboard said the 43-year-old rapper could still be deported to Britain, but Paterson's decision is expected to significantly slow the legal process.
Body of suspected illegal immigrant found by ranch hand
By Brady McCombs
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona Published: 05.27.2008
A ranch hand found the body of a woman who officials suspect had died while crossing the border illegally on Monday night in the Altar Valley southwest of Tucson.
At about 6 p.m. Monday about one mile east of milepost 16 on Arizona 286, a man working on a ranch discovered the body of an adult woman, said Rob Daniels, Border Patrol Tucson Sector spokesman. He reported it to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
They called the Border Patrol, which sent agents on all terrain vehicles to the area, he said. Officials from the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office also went and conducted an initial exam that indicated that she had died about a week ago from exposure to the elements, Daniels said.
They didn’t find any identification on or near the body and don’t know her name, age or where she is from.
From Jan. 1 through April, Southern Arizona medical examiners have handled the bodies of 44 illegal border crossers, compared to 57 at the same time the previous year, information from the Arizona Daily Star’s border death database shows.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Two men face deportation, other charges after chase
01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, May 28, 2008
By Thomas J. Morgan
Journal Staff Writer
PAWTUCKET — State troopers who noticed a car weaving on Route 95 on Monday wound up chasing the vehicle and arresting its two Guatemalan occupants, one of whom was under a deportation order and the other an illegal immigrant.
The troopers said they spotted the car’s erratic behavior as it approached them around 2 a.m., and pulled to the right to let it pass. It continued to swerve from lane to lane, they said, and when they attempted to halt the car it sped up and the passenger began throwing beer bottles out the window.
The car finally entered a dead-end street near the Massachusetts line. The driver fled and was caught after a brief chase.
The driver, Pascual Cipriano-Tzoc, 27, of 20 Kinfield Ave., Providence, was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol, eluding the police, driving without a license, obstruction of justice, identity fraud, resisting arrest, refusing to take a chemical breath test for alcohol, and various motor vehicle infractions.
The police said he had a fraudulent international driver’s license.
When the troopers checked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, they learned that a deportation order had been entered for him. He was turned over to immigration officials after arraignment in District Court.
The passenger, Regino Dominguez, 32, of 2022 Hartford Ave., Providence, was charged with resisting arrest. A check with immigration showed he was in this country illegally, the police said. He was ordered held at the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls pending deportation proceedings.
Traffic stop nets illegals
FROM STAFF REPORTS
MOUNT CARMEL TOWNSHIP — A routine traffic stop turned into a lot more Sunday night after six illegal immigrants were discovered trespassing on coal lands.
Patrolman Matthew Filarski, Mount Carmel Township police, reported he observed a white Dodge truck with an all-terrain vehicle in the bed pull out of Susquehanna Coal Co. property, which is private, and travel east on Route 54 in the westbound passing lane at 9:44 p.m.
After initiating a traffic stop, the truck’s driver, Victor Hugo Romero Urena, was issued citations for trespass by motor vehicle and driving on divided highways, according to Filarski.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered the occupants were residing in North Carolina and New Jersey and the passengers, Ivannia Maria Salmeron Navarro, Sanchez Ifaro Anna Yendry, Salmeron Navarro Guiselle and Calderon N. Douglas Hernan, were all from Costa Rica.
While checking with the National Crime Information Center, it was learned that the passengers, as well as Urena and a 14-year-old unidentified female passenger, were all in the country illegally.
Police contacted United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and were advised to take all occupants into custody, where they were transported to the Mount Carmel Township Police Department.
Allenwood ICE agents arrived at the police department and took the individuals into custody, transporting them to a detention facility pending a deportation hearing.
Filarski was assisted by Mount Carmel Township Officers David Donkochik, Matthew Dillman and Kevin Katch.
Monday, May 26, 2008
More than 900 immigration arrests in Calif.
The Associated Press
Article Launched: 05/24/2008 10:25:23 PM PDT
SAN FRANCISCO—Federal agents say they have arrested more than 900 people in California on immigration violations so far this month.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency says roughly 20 percent of those arrested had felony or misdemeanor criminal convictions. Some had been previously deported and had returned to the United States.
The agency says nearly half of those arrested - 441 people - were in Northern California. Most of those arrested weren't being targeted but were discovered during the immigration raids to not have legal authorization to be in the United States.
ICE cleans up after brawl
By Lake Sun staff
Published: Sunday, May 25, 2008 1:16 AM CDT
OSAGE BEACH - A 20-person free-for-all where some participants armed themselves with shovels and rakes landed seven adults and three juveniles in jail.
Three of them are expected to be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
The incident was reported just minutes after midnight Saturday on Lions Road in Osage Beach. When police arrived at the disturbance, as many as 20 suspects were involved. Several of the suspects were wielding shovels and rakes, using them as weapons in the melee.
Officers from Lake Ozark, Camden County Sheriff's Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol assisted Osage Beach Police in getting the crowd under control.
A few minor injuries were reported but none of the injured sought treatment at the time of the incident.
A second round of fights that broke out while police were questioning the suspects was quickly diffused by the officers.
As many as 10 suspects were taken to the Camden County Jail. Names were not released.
The Osage Beach Police report did not include any information on what triggered the brawl.
Contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Three hours passed. Cordero was tired, so they crouched down, exposing their knees between the hoses.
"I'll visit you in Guatemala," she told him. She didn't really believe it.
Lopez-Lopez also worked in quality-control, but on the retail side making $9.25 an hour. They each worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. They'd drive to work together, his shift beginning an hour after hers. Lopez-Lopez's sister looked after the baby, Ada Mari.
There are many lives Cordero and Lopez-Lopez's daughter can live.
Among Postville's immigrant community, fear is still the overwhelming sentiment.
REGION: ICE operation nets 137 in San Diego County
Crackdown targets criminal records, deportation orders
By SARAH GORDON - Staff Writer Friday, May 23, 2008 5:11 PM PDT
SAN DIEGO COUNTY ---- Federal agents arrested 137 people in San Diego County, including 32 in North County, during a three-week, statewide immigration crackdown that ended late Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Friday.
The sweep, conducted by the agency's Fugitive Operations Teams, started May 5 in San Diego and netted more than 900 people in California by the time it wrapped up in the San Francisco Bay area Thursday, said the agency's spokeswoman Lauren Mack.
The Fugitive Operations Teams, formed in 2003, are charged primarily with arresting and deporting illegal immigrants with criminal records and fugitives who have ignored a judge's deportation orders, said Robin Baker, San Diego field office director for the agency's detention and removal operations.
"These are people, they've had their day in court, and the judge has determined they're here in violation of the law," Baker said.
Of the 137 people arrested in San Diego County, 73 were targeted because they had ignored deportation orders or returned to the U.S. illegally after being removed, Baker said. The remaining 64 were undocumented immigrants whom agents encountered along the way, generally at a target's home, Baker said.
An immigrant rights activist decried the raids, saying they break up families and create fear in immigrant communities because they involve so many "collateral" arrests.
"We have received a number of calls of complaints over the past few weeks," said Pedro Rios, director of the San Diego American Friends Service Committee. "The more people experience these raids, the more they realize how nefarious they are and how they disintegrate communities."
Baker said the Fugitive Operations Teams pick their targets based on the threat they pose to the community. More than 40 percent of the people arrested in San Diego County had criminal histories in addition to being in the U.S illegally, Baker said. Their crimes included assault with a deadly weapon, carjacking, domestic violence and sexual assault.
About half the people arrested in the statewide operation were removed from the country immediately, Baker said. The remaining people are in ICE custody and waiting for a hearing before an immigration judge.
Rios, of the American Friends Service Committee, said that the so-called "targeted" operations in fact cast a wide net that can catch any illegal immigrant an agent meets.
But Baker said that is not agents' goal.
"The priority is the fugitives," he said. "We are using discretion, normally detaining others in the house in egregious cases where they can't even identify themselves to us. Here's a person who can't tell us who they are, and we're charged with protecting America. If we walked away it would be like a dereliction of duty."
Since 2003, the Fugitive Operations Teams have added to their ranks each year and arrested over 72,000 illegal immigrants nationwide, statistics show.
Man deported from Seattle; where is his 9-year-old son?
The Associated Press • Published May 24, 2008
Authorities are looking for a 9-year-old boy whose father was deported from Seattle to Mexico by federal immigration agents in April after being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.
In early May, the boy's mother went to the King County Sheriff's Office to report her son, Jonathon Venegas-Vielle, missing. She doesn't have custody of the boy.
Sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart says the boy is a U.S. citizen. He says investigators don't believe the boy traveled to Mexico to be with his father.
Urquart says no one seems to have seen the boy since his father appeared in Seattle Municipal Court in January and was immediately booked into jail.
Urquhart says at the time of the father's Jan. 24 arrest, the boy and his father were homeless, living out of a car or staying with friends and acquaintances.
A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement says her agency has no record of the boy. Lorie Dankers says the father appeared before an immigration judge on April 26 and was deported after waiving his right to appeal.
Urquhart says deputies will forward the case to Child Protective Services if they locate the boy.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Three CODE Team raids net eight arrests
Several illegal aliens among six arrested at Redmond home
By Barney Lerten, KTVZ.COM
Posted - May 22, 2008 10:36 PM EDT
The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team has had a busy week, with eight people arrested in three raids in Bend and Redmond that also turned up marijuana and methamphetamine.
Six people - at least four illegal immigrants now held for federal officials - were arrested in a raid Wednesday night on a southwest Redmond manufactured home located across the street from Obsidian Middle School, said Code Team Sgt. Mitchell Meyer.
CODE Team detectives, aided by Deschutes County sheriff's deputies and Redmond police, executed a search warrant at the home at 1332 SW Obsidian Ave. around 8:15 p.m., Meyer said.
Residents arrested at the location included Alberto Zepeda Perez, 30; Alberto Delgado Almonte, 26; Marco Antonio Flores Carmon, 21; Saul Garces Lopez, 32; and Pablo Espinoza Farias, 30, Meyer said. A Bend woman, Monca Arias Magellanes, 29, also was at the home at the time of the raid.
The search warrant concluded an extensive investigation of meth trafficking by people at the home, Meyer said. During the investigation, undercover detectives made "numerous" purchases of meth from Zepeda Perez, totaling over two ounces, he said.
Evidence seized at the home included meth, drug deal records, packaging materials, digital scales, forged documents and more than $5,000 in drug proceeds, Meyer said.
At least four of the five men were being held for federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, a jail officer said late Thursday. All face numerous drug charges.
About four hours earlier, shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday, CODE Team detectives raided a home at 60988 Amethyst St. in southwest Bend due to a reported marijuana-growing operation, Gautney said.
Detectives, assisted by Bend police, found a small pot-growing operation, along with more than 22 ounces of packaged marijuana, drug records and about $1,000 in cash.
Resident Isaiah Mathew Cook, 25 , of Bend, was not home at the time of the raid but later was taken into custody near Sisters by Oregon State Police, Gautney said. He was taken to the county jail in Bend on pot possession, delivery and manufacturing charges, as well as frequenting a place where drugs are kept or sold. He later was released from jail, Gautney said.
On Monday, shortly before 7 p.m., a 19-year-old Bend man was arrested on a traffic stop after he allegedly sold marijuana to another person, said CODE Team Lt. John Gautney.
A subsequent search was conducted of Justin Thomas LaFourcade's vehicle and house by CODE Team detectives and Bend police, assisted by sheriff's K-9 "Narc," Gautney said.
More than eight ounces (a half-pound) of marijuana was seized, along with packaging materials and scales commonly used for drugs. Detectives also seized a small amount of prescription drugs, Gautney said.
Three alleged illegal immigrants found during traffic stop [4th item]
POSTED: May 23, 2008
PORTLAND — A van was stopped on Pratt Road in the town of Portland, operating with a loud muffler, and under reason of suspicious person on May 8.
The driver, Miguel Bautista, 44, and Filiberta Bautista, 21 held valid New York state licenses. The following passengers possessed no form of identification; Florentina Rojas, 41; Pablo Gomez, 21; Oscar Lorenzo, 21; and Francisco Delgado-Juan, 20.
According to state police, Filiberta Bautista was the only one who could fluently speak and understand English. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was contacted after police received inconsistent stories.
After interviews by Special Agent Ryan Glor of ICE at the State Police barracks in Fredonia it was determined that Delgado-Juan, Lorenzo and Gomez were in the United States illegally ranging from two months to two years. They were transported to the Federal Holding Center in Batavia.
Filiberta, Rojas and Miguel were released, Miguel was issued a ticket for a loud muffler.
Fugitive in shootings is nabbed in Buckeye
The Arizona Republic
May. 23, 2008 12:00 AM
A fugitive wanted for killing two Mexican police officers during a jail escape three years ago has been arrested in Buckeye, where authorities said he has been living with his family and working at a dairy for the past two years.
Heraclio Guevara-Juarez, 31, was arrested Wednesday morning at the Triple G Dairy, on the corner of Broadway and Palo Verde roads, said Deputy Matt Hershey of the U.S. Marshals Service, who worked on the case. Deputies drove him back to Mexico early Thursday. Administrators at the dairy declined to comment.
"By the nature of the charges, he's pretty unpredictable," Hershey said. "Anybody like that is going to be extremely dangerous. You just never know."
Authorities say Guevara-Juarez assumed the identity of his brother-in-law and registered vehicles in Phoenix under the false name. Officials in Mexico got wind of the alias, learned he was in the area and contacted the U.S. Marshals Service last week.
Guevara-Juarez was originally arrested in Zacatecas, Mexico, on charges of robbing a power plant. While awaiting trial, Mexican authorities said he escaped from jail and killed two police officers before entering the United States illegally. His wife and three children later joined him.
"I'm sure he was fairly confident that he was all right," Hershey said. "It'd been a few years since the warrants were issued."
Hershey said it is not immediately known whether he has committed any crimes while in the United States. His wife and children, also in the country illegally, have been turned over to immigration officials.
His warrants out of Mexico for armed robbery, homicide and escape were issued in 2005, Hershey said.
David Gonzales, the U.S. marshal in Phoenix, said, "This is a classic example where law enforcement needs to be vigilant in tracking down career criminals and dangerous fugitives not only out of our state, but other states and other countries."
Agency cites mistake in raid at UCSD complex
By Leslie Berestein
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
May 23, 2008
LA JOLLA – Local officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say agents made a mistake last week when they entered UCSD student housing to search an apartment without first notifying the university.
Last Thursday morning, ICE agents entered the off-campus graduate housing unit of student Jorge Narvaez, 21, a legal U.S. resident. Earlier that morning, agents had carried out a criminal search warrant at the French Gourmet, a Pacific Beach bakery and bistro, and were proceeding on to suspected illegal workers' homes.
While Narvaez works at the bakery, the worker that ICE agents sought didn't live at Narvaez's address.
The agency's policy when entering a university campus, or off-campus university housing, is to alert campus police. However, in this case, agents didn't realize they were in student housing until later, ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said.
“Had they been aware that morning, we would have provided a courtesy notification by contacting the campus police,” Mack said. “We are conducting an internal review of the situation to clear up any confusion as to how that happened, and to make sure it doesn't happen again.”
Narvaez, a pre-law student born in Mexico who has lived in the United States most of his life, lives in the Mesa Graduate Housing complex near the University of California San Diego. While he is an undergraduate, students with families also live there; Narvaez has a wife and young child.
He said he was home alone last Thursday about 10 a.m. when half a dozen armed agents arrived at his door. After asking if the other person lived there, they began asking him questions, Narvaez said.
“They asked me what's my legal status,” he said. “I had nothing to hide, so I let them in my home. I went outside and they went through all my stuff.”
While Narvaez said he has no complaints as to how the search was carried out, he said agents should have been aware of where they were.
“There are signs in front that say this is university housing,” he said.
UCSD officials learned of the incident as news spread from student to student and eventually to faculty, said Grecia Lima, a senior who helped organize a forum on campus yesterday to discuss stepped-up immigration enforcement. Earlier this week, UCSD campus police spoke with ICE officials about the incident and to “revisit the importance of advising campus police when agents become involved in contacting students on campus,” Stacie Spector, associate vice chancellor for university communications, said in a written statement.
Campus police at San Diego State University cooperated with federal drug-enforcement agents during a five-month undercover operation on campus that resulted in 96 arrests earlier this month. Afterward, university President Stephen Weber said he had not been made aware of the agents' presence until shortly before the operation ended.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
ICE raids net 17 illegal immigrants in Canal
Nancy Isles Nation
Article Launched: 05/22/2008 12:21:26 PM PDT
Immigration authorities arrested 17 illegal immigrants in the Canal area of San Rafael in raids that began early Thursday morning.
Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement department, said enforcement teams removed 16 men and one woman. She did not have their nationalities but said she would supply that when it became available.
A Canal resident of 20 years, who asked to remain anonymous, said immigration officials have had a strong presence in the neighborhood in recent months.
"Everybody I know here is illegal and they are all scared," the woman said. "They've all lived here all their lives and they pay taxes."
Kice said the majority of immigrants arrested have had their day in court, have had due process of law and have chosen to ignore court orders.
"They don't have a right to be here," Kice said. "Our responsibility is to enforce the law."
ICE has arrested more than 1,600 illegal immigrants in Northern California since Oct. 1, Kice said. Of those, 1,000 had previously been ordered deported and more than 300 had criminal records.
The San Rafael Police Department did not participate in any of the arrests, said police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher. She said the department was notified at 5 a.m. that ICE agents would be attempting to serve federal deportation warrants in several areas of the city.
On Tuesday, San Pedro Elementary School principal, Kathryn Gibney, testified at a congressional hearing on the continuing emotional and social trauma of last year's federal immigration raids, calling the crackdown "devastating" to her students.
Gibney told the Workforce Protections Subcommittee that she is still seeing rising absenteeism and falling test scores as a result of the raids.
Family of Lawful Permanent Residents Joins Immigration Raids Suit (PRNewsWire c/o Nashville Business Journal)
Family of Lawful Permanent Residents Joins Immigration Raids Suit
NEWARK, N.J., May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Two lawful permanent residents and their U.S.-citizen son, age 9, joined a statewide lawsuit challenging the federal government's practice of unlawfully raiding immigrants' homes, after federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") agents forced their way into the family's home last month. Once inside the home, the agents terrified the son by pointing a gun at him and threatening to take him from his family, according to court papers filed today on the family's behalf by the Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice and Lowenstein Sandler PC.
Plaintiffs, Walter Chavez, Anna Galindo and their son -- identified in court papers by his initials W.C. -- join a suit filed last month in federal district court on behalf of 10 other victims of home raids that occurred across the state of New Jersey between August 2006 and January 2008. All plaintiffs claim violations of their constitutional privacy and due process rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The plaintiffs in the amended lawsuit allege that the unlawful dragnet raids are carried out as part of an ongoing pattern and practice by ICE agents.
Chavez and Galindo are legal residents who came to the United States from Guatemala in 1980 and who now live in Paterson, New Jersey. According to the amended complaint, one morning last month Chavez was accosted by federal agents in front of his home, then physically shoved up to his own front door and ordered to open it. The agents demanded to see his wife, who ran out of the bath in a state of semi-undress; they later realized they had the wrong person.
According to the amended complaint, when the boy entered the room, several agents opened their jackets to display their guns, then put their hands on their guns. One agent drew his weapon and pointed it at W.C. and his mother, causing the boy to fear the agents would kill him and his family. Even after the agents realized they were in the wrong house, the agents remained in the house questioning Chavez and Galindo and they made explicit threats to take the boy away from his parents. When the agents finally left the house one of the agents announced,
"We're going to come back. And next time it will be worse." The amended complaint alleges that Galindo and her son experienced severe trauma as a result of the raid. They are unable to sleep and fear the agents' return. Chavez and Galindo have found their son crying and shaking in the night, and he becomes afraid every time the doorbell rings.
"When ICE agents are terrorizing lawful residents and young children, there can be no doubt that the dragnet home-raids practice is deeply flawed," said Bassina Farbenblum, an attorney at the Seton Hall Center for Social Justice. "These aren't isolated cases. What happened to the Chavez family and the other plaintiffs in our case is typical of the government's widespread home-raids practice, which continues to undermine the rule of law and instill fear throughout immigrant communities."
The Chavez home raid, and those challenged in the original complaint, all follow a similar pattern in which immigration agents force their way into homes by deception, intimidation, or physical force, in the early hours of the morning without a judicial warrant or the occupants' consent. Agents sweep through the house, round up all the residents for questioning, often display guns, and sometimes order children out of their beds. In some instances they shout obscenities, shove guns into residents' chests, and forbid residents from calling their lawyers. In many cases, the officers purport to be searching for a person who does not even live at the address raided. The amended complaint asserts that these practices are typical of ICE's "Operation Return to Sender" program.
Under this program, the amended complaint alleges, ICE agents have been ordered to meet dramatically increased immigrant arrest quotas using grossly outdated address information and without having been trained on lawful procedures. ICE claims that Operation Return to Sender was designed to arrest criminals and individuals with old deportation orders, people whom ICE calls "fugitives." Yet among 2,079 people arrested in New Jersey last year under this program, 87% had no criminal record, and as few as 1 in 3 were "fugitives" with outstanding deportation orders. The amended complaint alleges that responsibility for the raids practice and the associated constitutional violations reaches senior federal officials, including the head of ICE,
Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Julie Myers.
"The Chavez home raid presents yet another example of the inaccuracy and lack of training associated with the government's home raids practice," explained plaintiffs' attorney Scott Thompson, of Lowenstein Sandler. "The agents not only went after the wrong people, but refused to leave the family alone once they realized their mistake."
In addition to seeking compensation for their ordeal, Chavez, Galindo, and their son have asked the court for an order prohibiting ICE or its agents from making good on their threat to come back to their home -- a threat that still weighs heavily on the family, according to the amended complaint.
"As a result of government agents' abusive tactics, a 9-year-old U.S. citizen goes to bed every night in fear of his government," said plaintiffs' lawyer and Seton Hall Law Professor Baher Azmy. "This is something that should never happen in the United States of America."
Today's filing amends the original complaint in Argueta v. Myers, filed on April 3, 2008 by 10 home-raid victims. Along with the amended complaint, the plaintiffs' attorneys have filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent further intimidation of the Chavez family and any warrantless, non-consensual entry into their home while the litigation is pending. A copy of today's amended complaint and preliminary injunction papers, along with factual summaries of the raids on the other plaintiffs' homes, can be found at http://law.shu.edu/csj/iceraids.html.Previously, in January 2008, the Center for Social Justice, represented by Lowenstein Sandler, and the community newspaper Brazilian Voice filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit challenging the government's withholding of raids-related documents: http://law.shu.edu/csj/iceraids.html.
Seton Hall University School of Law, New Jersey's only private law school, and a leading law school in the New York metropolitan area, is dedicated to preparing students for the practice of law through excellence in scholarship and teaching with a strong focus on clinical education. The Center for Social Justice, a core of Seton Hall Law School's Catholic mission, provides clinical education and volunteer opportunities to students and engages in various forms of advocacy, scholarship and direct legal services in an effort to secure equality, civil rights and legal protection for individuals and communities in need. Seton Hall Law School is located in Newark and offers both day and evening degree programs. For more information visit http://law.shu.edu/.
Lowenstein Sandler PC is a nationally recognized corporate law firm with offices in New York, New Jersey and Boston, with more than 275 attorneys providing a full range of legal services. The firm's commitment to its clients is demonstrated through its client-centered, service-oriented culture. Lowenstein Sandler attorneys are regularly recognized for excellence by clients and peers in national publications, including Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business and The Legal 500. www.lowenstein.com
SOURCE Lowenstein Sandler PC
Pol's aide may get deported for pot bust in '80s
BY JOTHAM SEDERSTROM
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, May 22nd 2008, 4:00 AM
A high-ranking aide to Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James is in federal lockup in Manhattan awaiting deportation to Jamaica for a 23-year-old minor drug charge and for failing to attend an immigration hearing.
Raymond Martin, 44, was taken into custody last Thursday by Homeland Security officials for a 1985 pot bust and for failing to show for a 2001 immigration hearing, his lawyer and James told the Daily News.
"My office has been dealing with these type of sad cases since 2003, when these Draconian immigration laws came into effect, separating families and destroying people," said James, who has enlisted Sens. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer and Rep. Yvette Clarke to mediate for Martin.
Martin's lawyer, Cheryl David, said federal officials have clamped down, removing thousands of noncitizens for minor deportable infractions.
"There's more focus on enforcement in the past two years than I've ever seen before," David said. "Jumping a turnstile twice will get you deported."
Martin, who was hired as deputy chief of staff when James was elected in 2003, was arrested in a Brooklyn drug raid in 1985 and sentenced to five years' probation, sources said.
He has lived as a legal immigrant in Brooklyn since moving here in 1977, but never became a citizen, according to his fiancée, Semone Hector.
When the Flatbush resident flew to Barbados in March 2001 for his sister's wedding, it triggered a probe that lead to his arrest, she said.
"The bottom line is if Ray gets deported, God forbid, there's no one in Jamaica for him," said Hector, who said the pair was to wed in December.
"Once he gets off the plane, where does he go? He has no one."
Homeland Security spokesman Michael Gilhooly said travel documents were being prepared for Martin's removal order.
Seven county residents arrested in illegal immigration raids
Supporters fear for his safety
By James Vaznis
Globe Staff / May 22, 2008
Federal immigration officials deported yesterday a popular Fenway High School teacher, whose fight against a final deportation order had garnered the support of his passionate students and the state's top political leaders over the last several years.
more stories like this
Obain Attouoman, who is in his mid-40s, was expected to board an airplane in New York last night, destined to return to his homeland, Ivory Coast.
Family, friends, and colleagues fear for his safety. Attouoman's involvement in a politically active teachers union in Ivory Coast and an insurgent opposition political party almost cost him his life, prompting him to flee in the early 1990s.
"The deportation has caught us all by surprise," said Peggy Kemp, headmaster at Fenway High School. "We are worried about him."
Federal immigration officials took custody of Attouoman Tuesday morning during a routine check-in with immigration officials at their offices in Burlington.
Paula Grenier, a spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that as a matter of policy she could not discuss details of a deportation case. However, she added, "That individual is in ICE custody and has a final order of removal that was issued by an impartial federal immigration judge, and it's ICE's job to enforce the judicial order."
Attouoman's departure last night was much more subdued than his near-deportation in March 2005. Students, colleagues, and other supporters held several rallies that gained news media attention. In response, US Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry filed legislation that would have made Attouoman a resident. The pending legislation delayed Attouoman's departure.
However, the bill expired last year because Congress never acted on it, said Attouoman's lawyer, Susan Cohen.
"He knew the deportation could happen any time," Cohen said last night.
Nevertheless, "it's still terrible," she added. "He handed me his wallet and car keys. They took him away, and they didn't let me speak to him."
Attouoman came to America on an exchange visa in the early 1990s and sought political asylum. Along the way, though, he misread a notice in which he was given a court hearing date to argue his case, leading a judge to order his deportation.
A math and special education teacher, Attouoman had a bond with his students. He was known around the school for his dark pinstripe suits, prompting students to coin a word for dressing sharply, Obaining.
Many of the students, who are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, could empathize with his deportation plight, and Attouoman considered them to be angels for helping him stave off the initial deportation.
Attouoman also taught at the Mary Lyon K-8 School in Brighton.
"He's very well respected and is a very good teacher," Kemp said. "He is a very warm, likable human being."
Kemp said it was difficult delivering the news to students and staff, especially on a day students began taking state standardized tests in math. Passing those MCAS tests is a state graduation requirement and Attouoman worked tirelessly to help his students succeed.
During his extended stay in the United States, Attouoman married a US citizen about a year-and-a-half ago, his lawyer said. His wife filed paperwork with federal authorities so Attouoman could receive a residency status that is typically granted to foreigners married to US residents, but the government has not yet acted on the request, Cohen said. "We will fight to bring him back," she said.
Feds arrest 16 in raid Wayne County migrant camp
Farm Bureau official says workers verbally abused. Agent denies allegation.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
By John Stith
Federal immigration agents raided a migrant camp in Savannah in Wayne County on Wednesday morning, taking into custody 16 of the 17 workers living there.
The 16 taken into custody - 11 men and five women - were transported to the immigration detention center in Batavia. Their cases will be evaluated individually, according to Lev Kubiak, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Investigations. Two were from Guatemala and 14 from Mexico.
Immigration agents, assisted by state police, arrived shortly after 6 a.m. at the camp, a large wood-framed building on Route 31 just north of the Seneca County line and owned by Martens Farms. Over about 90 minutes, immigration authorities led the handcuffed workers out of the building and into a small bus for the trip to Batavia.
Kubiak said one worker, who has an immigration case pending, was allowed to remain at the camp.
The workers were employed by Martens Farms and worked at a processing plant in Port Byron. Farm owner Robert Martens could not be reached for comment.
Kubiak said the raid was part of a continuing investigation. Immigration authorities had received a tip that illegal workers were living at the camp, he said.
"We're at a very initial stage of this investigation, so I can't comment specifically about this investigation," he said.
Mark James, executive director of the Farm Bureau in the Finger Lakes Region, who toured the building after the agents had left, said the federal agents verbally abused the migrant workers during the sweep and had "trashed" the interior.
"The place was ransacked," he said.
Kubiak denied allegations that the workers or their belongings were handled roughly. Agents did a thorough search, he said.
Caroline Kim, of Syracuse, a law school graduate and advocate for immigrants, said raids like the one in Savannah terrorize the Hispanic community at large, including native born and naturalized citizens.
"Their constitutional rights are not being respected," Kim said. "Certainly, it drives them underground. They're fearful to go to the doctor. They're fearful to contact law enforcement if they're victims of a crime. They're afraid to get groceries. They're afraid to go to work. They're afraid to go to church."
Both James and Wayne County Farm Bureau President Phil Wagner, a fruit farmer from Butler, used the raid as a chance to call for reform of immigration laws and for immigration authorities to issue more visas to allow foreign workers into the country legally.
"We're being punished by taking our work force away without Washington addressing the problem," Wagner said. "For one season, if I can't harvest my fruit, I'm out of business."
James said immigration authorities have staked out areas of Wayne County to find illegal workers.
"I have been told they have been routinely hanging out at a supermarket across from a Catholic church on Sundays trying to nab people coming out of church," he said.
Kubiak said immigration authorities target individuals and employers who knowingly transport, harbor and employ illegal aliens. He noted that the Homeland Security Department's E-Verify program allows employers to verify names and Social Security numbers supplied by employees.
An employer who knowingly employs illegal aliens will face significant criminal penalties, Kubiak said.
HIKER BANNED FROM U.S. FOR FIVE YEARS FOR STRAYING ACROSS BORDER
May 21, 2008
By Paul Everest
A local man who has been ordered to stay out of the U.S. for five years said he is being unfairly punished for what he says was an honest mistake while hiking through the mountains west of Osoyoos near the Washington state border.
But American officials said Dietrich Leclerc, 23, should have known better.
Leclerc, who lives with friends just north of Osoyoos and works at the Sage Pub, said he had two days off from work on May 5 and 6 and decided to use them to explore some of the countryside between here and Keremeos. He said he headed west on the morning of May 5 with some camping gear and ended up by the Similkameen River that night.
The next morning, Leclerc said he awoke and passed through a gate which was unmarked. He said he's not an expert navigator and eventually came upon a road he mistook as Hwy. 3. It was not until he noticed speed limit signs indicating mileage and Washington state licence plates that he realized he had crossed the international boundary.
Once he realized what he calls an honest error, Leclerc decided to hitchhike back to the Osoyoos border crossing and explain the situation to border officials, rather than risk crossing back into Canada and being caught.
"I was trying to see it from their viewpoint and turned myself in," he said. "I thought it would look bad if I were caught.
"As it turns out, the first car that came along was a U.S. port of entry officer on his way to work who picked up Leclerc, who explained what had happened.
Leclerc said the agent was understanding and took him to the border crossing. But it wasn't long before he was placed under arrest, handcuffed and driven to a holding cell in Oroville just before 9 a.m.
"They thought I was smuggling drugs," he said, adding that he was taken out of the cell throughout the day and questioned and his belongings were searched. "I felt deceived, violated and lied to."
A journal that Leclerc said he took on his frequent travels throughout North America was found in his baggage. He said some notes were found in the journal describing a trip he took to Mexico in November 2007 where he met a girl who is Muslim who planned on travelling to Tunisia. At that point, Leclerc said, the border agents began to question him about terrorism. He added that the agents photocopied the notes.
Leclerc said he was finally released back into Canada around 8:30 p.m. that evening with an order that he is not allowed to enter the U.S. for five years.
"There's no possible way for me to get back in unless I want to go to jail," he said. "It kind of limits me. It's a great place. I have lots of friends in places."
Danielle Suarez, spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, confirmed that Leclerc "crossed illegally" and that he is not allowed back into the U.S. for five years.
"Anyone who enters the U.S. illegally is subject to being deported," she said.
As for Leclerc's position that he was simply unaware that he had strayed across the border, Suarez said the investigating officers weren't convinced.
"His story had a lot of discrepancies in it," she said, adding that Leclerc allegedly told the port of entry officer that he only wanted to hitchhike back to the Osoyoos border crossing. "Our agents are skilled and trained to see if a story jives.
"He clearly wasn't being candid with our agents."
And, Suarez said, Leclerc was released from the Oroville holding station closer to 3 p.m.
Suarez also said it is highly unlikely that Leclerc could have crossed the international boundary without knowing it, adding there are monuments, signs and gates all along the border between B.C. and Washington state.
"He actually crossed through a gate," she said. "This area (where he crossed) is known for drug smuggling. Because of this, our agents are going to respond in this way."
One Osoyoos resident who has property which extends to the U.S. border said it is possible in many spots to cross the border without realizing it.
"You can walk through the border for 400 or 500 yards and not know it," said the man, who asked not to be identified. "People are doing it all the time. It's easy."
But judging from the story, the man said Leclerc ended up at the Nighthawk Road in Washington state which is more than a kilometre from the border.
"When you are that far down, there's some due diligence on your part to know it," the man said. "He's lucky he's not in jail."
The man also said many people do intentionally cross the border illegally in wilderness areas.
Leclerc said he understands that border protocols are much stricter in the post-9/11 world but he stands by his position that he made an error and tried to correct it in the best way possible. Although he has considered writing to his MLA and MP, he doubts he'll be able to have the deportation order reversed.
"I don't think there's anything I can do," Leclerc said.
ICE rounds up 25 illegal immigrants in area with criminal violations
By ISAIAH GUZMAN - Sentinel Correspondent
Article Launched: 05/21/2008 04:25:24 PM PDT
Updated 5:45 p.m.
WATSONVILLE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 25 illegal immigrants throughout the Bay Area Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, including five in Watsonville and two in Capitola, an ICE spokeswoman reported Wednesday.
A San Francisco-based ICE fugitive operations team arrested illegal immigrants who failed to comply with a court order for deportation, according to Lori Haley, an ICE spokeswoman in Laguna Niguel.
Six of the people arrested had criminal convictions, said Haley, and three were sexual predators. Haley could not immediately identify those arrested.
"Our priority is to enforce the immigration laws as they are," she said. "People who are living in the country illegally and have been ordered to be deported are breaking the law."
Fifteen illegal immigrants were arrested in Seaside, two in Salinas and one in San Jose, said Haley. She did not provide specifics on how the arrests were made, but said fugitive operations teams normally go to residences and serve administrative, rather than criminal, warrants, meaning agents cannot enter the homes without the occupants' permission.
Local law enforcement agencies from Watsonville, Capitola and Monterey County said Wednesday they did not participate in the raids. It is not usually the habit of local law enforcement to assist federal agents in immigration raids.
So far, in fiscal year 2008, the three San Francisco-area fugitive operations teams have made 1,620 arrests, 300 of which are "criminal aliens." According to ICE, fugitive operations teams give top priority to aliens who pose a threat to national security and community safety, including members of street gangs, child sex offenders and aliens with convictions for violent crimes.
There are currently 75 fugitive operations teams nationwide. They made 30,408 arrests during fiscal year 2007.
"As you can see from the arrests we made, a lot of these people, in addition to being in the country illegally, are actually criminals and they have no business being here," said Haley.
But local immigrant rights advocates responded angrily to the raids Wednesday, saying the raids cause people to live in fear, affect the local economy and don't just target criminals. Some advocates said plain-clothes agents arrived at houses in unmarked cars.
Karen Mallory, an organizer with Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action, or COPA, said she was working Wednesday with the wife of one of the men who was arrested in Capitola. Mallory said agents weren't looking for the woman's husband, but took him because he was undocumented and living where the wanted man had lived previously.
"It makes it hard to be proud to be an American the way we're taking people out of their homes, away from their families," said Mallory.
Santa Cruz City Councilman Tony Madrigal, meanwhile, said the raids go against the values of the community. Resolutions have been passed in Santa Cruz and Watsonville opposing immigration raids and directing police to not cooperate with ICE agents.
"I'm just concerned that there's going to be panic again amongst parents, workers, families and children," said Madrigal, a member of a countywide committee called Stop the Raids. "Our local economy can't continue to take these kinds of hits."
This is the second string of raids to occur in the area in less than two years. Raids in September of 2006 resulted in the arrest of 107 illegal immigrants in Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Hollister.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Driver Claims He Didn't Know Illegal Immigrants Were Inside Truck
Reported by: Kristina De Leon
Last Update: 3:21 pm
Officers thought they were about to watch a drug deal go down, but ended up making a human smuggling bust instead.
Seven illegal immigrants were found in the back cab of an 18-wheeler Tuesday night at a truck stop off IH-35 South and Somerset. Investigators believe the illegal immigrants had been in the cab for more than 10 hours.
It all started when police followed a black pickup truck to the Shell Station at IH-35 and Somerset, and parked next to the 18-wheeler. Police thought there was a drug deal going on.
"They were flashing with the flashlights all the way around the truck to find out what was inside," explained a witness.
That's when they found the illegal immigrants. The big rig's driver took off running, but then turned around.
"In our experience, I would have never expected the driver to come back to the scene, much less to try to take the truck or take the truck away," said Special Agent in Charge Jerry Robinette of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The driver, Frank Harrington, didn't want to say much, only that he didn't know how five men and two women were found stuffed in the back cab of his truck.
"They had to do it here," Harrington told News 4. "Because it wasn't in when I stopped."
Harrington now faces federal smuggling charges.
"Whoever is responsible, they, they need to be the ones sitting here instead of me," Harrington added.
I.C.E. agents said the truck cab was air conditioned. They also said the cab was unlocked, and the illegal immigrants were free to leave at anytime.
For inmates, a final day in Wenatchee
By Jaime Adame
World staff writer
Posted May 16, 2008
WENATCHEE — Skate shoes or cowboy boots, chains connected each pair of ankles.
Up close, the faces of illegal immigration do not all look alike. Two were boyish, another had a beard turned mostly gray.
All six men, however, were led outside Wednesday morning to a van parked in the loading area of Chelan County Regional Justice Center.
Their lives in the days or weeks prior had included run-ins with the law and time spent in jail. Those sentences had been served, but, as a result of an aggressive federal push to identify criminal immigrants held in jails or facing charges in court, the men — all Mexican nationals — were headed from jail to a federal detention center in Tacoma.
Giving basic commands in a mix of English and Spanish to the handcuffed men were two uniformed officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The federal agency oversees the recently created Criminal Alien Program that focuses on jails and prisons.
"We're trying to interview everybody that claims to be foreign born," said Neil Clark, field director for the director of ICE that oversees the program in the Northwest. Clark was in Wenatchee to give a reporter a peek at ICE operations inside the jail.
Locally, the program has already led to a dramatic increase in the number of inmates placed on immigration holds.
On an average day last December, 4.26 inmates in jail were in custody solely because of an ICE hold, according to statistics kept by jail officials. Most of these inmates were brought in on criminal charges by local law enforcement. In March, the number was up to 4.8 inmates on an average day.
The average was 0.29 inmates on ICE holds, according to a December 2005 jail population report.
Statewide, since June of last year 4,453 inmates have been detained by ICE and placed into removal proceedings, according to statistics kept by the agency.
In the immigration court system, a person is not granted a court-appointed lawyer, though they have the right to find a lawyer to represent them. Detainees go before a judge who will determine whether they should be removed from the country, unless the detainee's deportation status has previously been determined by a judge.
The difference is that some ICE staff now focus full time on jail checks.
Resources are the key to the Criminal Alien Program, said Clark.
"Even though it's in its infant stages, it's shown a lot of success because of devoting staff to that," Clark said.
Hector Nuñez-Laguna is 19. He has a buzz cut, and is wearing a red T-shirt along with dirty work boots. He smiles easily when talking with other detainees.
"That's how it is," he shrugs when asked by a reporter his thoughts about what may be a one-way trip to Tacoma.
Still, he said he didn't think it would work out this way May 7 when he was pulled over for speeding in Manson. He did not have a valid driver's license, so he was booked into jail that evening, he said.
He went before a judge the next morning and was issued a $155 ticket, he said. But he was taken into custody by an ICE agent, and has been waiting in jail to be transferred to Tacoma ever since.
ICE officials confirmed Nuñez had been convicted for not having a valid operators' license, while sheriff's office records show he already had a warrant for driving without a license when pulled over May 7 by the Washington State Patrol.
The agency touts the public safety merits of the program. Among the six men being transported out of jail Wednesday, one had a felony gun possession conviction and two had felony drug convictions, according to information supplied by ICE. Two, including Nuñez, had a single misdemeanor conviction. Out of the six, three had DUI convictions and two had misdemeanor assault convictions.
The Criminal Alien Program seeks to identify both illegal immigrants and legal alien residents whose crimes would cause them to be deported.
The severity of the crime can matter for non-citizens in the county legally, said Lorie Dankers, an ICE spokeswoman also in Wenatchee on Wednesday. Some offenses are deportable, while others are not, though other factors are also considered by a judge, said Dankers. Such factors might include ties to the community and employment status.
Inmates without any legal basis to be in the country, however, will be placed on an immigration hold regardless of whether they are convicted of a crime, Dankers said — if the local Wenatchee ICE staff realize an inmate may be deportable.
Federal authorities began looking for illegal immigrants in prisons in 1988, spanning about 30 federal institutions and some state facilities. When ICE was created in 2003, it took over the effort.
The Criminal Alien Program was ramped up, according to Clark, in June of last year, when the prison, jail and court-based efforts were moved to the Office of Detention and Removal division of ICE.
The process of identifying a possible illegal resident has remained largely the same, even after the reorganization, Dankers said.
When an inmate at Chelan County Regional Justice Center is booked, jail staff ask him or her in what country they were born.
An ICE agent can review all bookings and see how the inmates answered. Those inmates who answered that they are foreign born are then briefly re-interviewed by the ICE agent, and their fingerprints run through an online database to check to see if they had previous contact with immigration officers.
Documentation may be asked for and provided. On Wednesday, an ICE agent in Chelan County Regional Justice Center said that a day earlier, he interviewed four people, three of whom were in the country legally.
If someone is an illegal resident, they will admit it to an ICE officer the overwhelming majority of the time, said Clark, though some inmates choose not to answer questions about birthplace posed by jail staff.
"If they refuse to talk to me, I have the ability to place a hold on them," said the local ICE agent in the jail. The Wenatchee World agreed to a condition put forth by ICE officials to not name agents. Dankers said the anonymity is out of concern for their safety.
Sometimes an inmate may bail out before an ICE agent has a chance to interview them. ICE doesn't staff around the clock at the Chelan County jail, but, as the case of Nuñez shows, a short stay doesn't mean an inmate will be overlooked.
Upset at the law, system
Christian Peña-Grajeda is not smiling. He says he came to the United States on a visa that expired in February, then overstayed to take care of an ailing girlfriend.
He said he's upset at the criminal justice system.
He said he reported a car crash involving his girlfriend only to be wrongly arrested by East Wenatchee police.
Peña-Grajeda, 26, says he was booked on a reckless endangerment charge. The police thought he jerked the wheel as a passenger, causing the wreck, he explained. But that wasn't the case, he said, noting that a judge reduced the charge to disorderly conduct.
He admits to drinking, but said his girlfriend would have backed his story up in court, if a judge would have allowed it.
Whatever may have led to Peña-Grajeda's case, some critics of ICE's policy worry that scrutiny of the jails will lead illegal immigrants to report fewer crimes. If a man or woman wants to report being assaulted by their spouse, for instance, an arrest may lead to deportation — perhaps an unintended consequence for the person reporting the crime.
Enrique Bazan, 46, is not happy either. First, at the jail, he complains that he wasn't given needed medication, and he wants to have it shipped in his belongings to Tacoma. Getting ready to load the van, ICE agents had a paper bag stapled shut for each inmate. They will take with them only what they had when they entered the jail.
Among the six in jail Wednesday, two were previously deported, according to ICE. Bazan has been deported three times, according to ICE. If he's deported again — he said he's "halfway legal," but doesn't have the money for a good lawyer — he'll leave behind a wife, he said. His criminal history includes a drug possession conviction, DUI, and misdemeanor assault, according to ICE.
Bazan doesn't understand how so many jobs can be offered to non-legal residents, and then those same residents can be deported.
He has a word for it, "exploitation," and doesn't understand why the area fruit businesses won't do more for their workers.
Take away the jobs, and the immigrants will stay away, he said. Or, make the workers legal.
Interim jail director Phil Stanley has no explanation why inmates are asked by jail staff about their nationality upon their booking — "It's just one of the questions we ask," he said in February when asked by a reporter — but Clark said Wednesday that asking the question is in line with standard practices for all jails and prisons.
Jails that house illegal immigrants receive some money by the Federal Bureau of Justice Assistance, with $56,416 in revenue in the 2008 budget for Chelan County Regional Justice Center (less than one percent of the jail's projected revenues). Once a person is in jail solely on an ICE or U.S. Border Patrol hold, the federal government pays for the cost of their stay.
"I would say they are very cooperative," said Clark. Some jails do more to accomodate ICE than others, he said. While the agency ranks jails and prisons to decide where to deploy resources, those tiered rankings are not released to the public, said Dankers.
Part of the nationwide push includes technology. In Wenatchee, the technology has been in place for a few years to use an FBI computer database that reveals a person's criminal history — and cross-checks with a Department of Homeland Security database. This can tell ICE agents about a person's prior contacts with ICE or with Immigration and Naturalization Service, the agency folded into ICE in 2003 that previously enforced immigration law.
Nuñez, according to ICE, was previously granted a voluntary return in 2005, meaning he never went through a formal deportation procedure after agreeing to return to Mexico.
But such an action should still show up in the computer as a red flag to ICE agents years later.
Evaristo Manjarez-Toscano was 19 when he first came to the United States in 1985, he told a reporter.
It's easy to recognize him from a tiny black-and-white photo about that old that shows up on a computer screen.
At the Wenatchee Post Office building, the ICE officer shows a reporter the results from the Manjarez' fingerprints. Four times Manjarez has been contacted by ICE or immigration officials, according to the database. He was deported twice, in 2001 and 2007, according to information released separately to a reporter.
The first contact in the 1980s shows Manjarez as a young man, his tousled hair evident then, though not quite as tousled as it was Wednesday.
He is now 42, according to jail records, and says he's the father of two daughters, one 10, the other 5, who he lives with locally along with their mother.
In 1985, he came to Washington from the Mexican state of Colima, following seven siblings, he said.
And though he admits to coming illegally, he said he was granted amnesty in the 1980s.
Then, however, he appeared before a judge after giving a ride to a man attempting to deliver marijuana, he said. Ultimately, there was no conviction, but the incident changed his immigration status.
He said he was deported in 1996 (ICE did not release any information about any such deportation), then walked with a group of about 10 others for three days and three nights, ending up near San Diego.
He was booked May 10 on a DUI conviction in Douglas County. According to ICE, he has also been previously convicted of misdemeanor assault, a civil offense and a probation violation.
Working most recently pruning orchard trees, Manjarez said that his family will follow him to Mexico if he's deported.
"Even if we become poorer for doing so, we'll be together," Manjarez said.