Shoplifting suspects didn't wait for sales
November 30, 2010
BY ERIN GUERRA, POST-TRIBUNE CORRESPONDENT
Christmas shoplifting season appears to have begun, with stores in Portage and Valparaiso reporting an increased number of thefts.
Among the more unusual arrests was that of Susan Agent, 39, of Lake Station, who allegedly watched as the two juveniles she brought to Kmart, 6050 U.S. 6 in Portage, hid toys, BBs and candy in her diaper bag. As store security detained the juveniles around 11:40 a.m. Friday, Agent -- whom police later saw on the security video witnessing and ignoring the thefts -- allegedly tried to flee.
She went to her vehicle, presumably to put away items she had purchased, but instead got in and attempted to drive away, with a 1-year-old child unsecured next to her in the front seat, according to the police report. Agent reportedly fled from the squad car that pursued her in the parking lot until a second police car pulled in front of her. In addition to theft, she also was charged with felony neglect of a dependent and misdemeanor driving with a suspended license.
In a separate incident, two men were arrested for allegedly stealing 12 cans of powdered baby formula, worth $173.88, intended to be a gift for family members in Mexico.
Santiago Espinosa, 23, and Juan Olivares Callada, 20, admitted being illegal immigrants when they were arrested at about 12:15 p.m. Wednesday while leaving Town and Country Market, 1605 Calumet Ave., Valparaiso. Each had half a dozen cans of formula secured in girdles they wore under their clothes. The men gave an Indianapolis address but said they've been working in the Valparaiso area. U.S. Immigration Services has been notified of the felony theft arrests.
Also arrested for felony theft stemming from attempted shoplifting were:
* Tonya Leudtke, 33, of Portage, arrested at 7 p.m. Friday at Cartronix, 6441 U.S. 6 in Portage, after employees called police saying she had been in the store for more than two hours, was talking to herself and appeared drunk. A cell phone case, still in its factory plastic, was in her purse. Leudtke also is charged with public intoxication and possession of a controlled substance.
* Deanna Reid, 39, of Valparaiso, arrested at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at Town and Country Market in Valparaiso for felony theft after allegedly hiding $27.85 worth of groceries -- including dog food, gum and candy -- in her purse.
* Kenneth Campbell, 50, of Valparaiso, arrested at 11:40 a.m. Wednesday for felony theft for allegedly stealing a hammer, pliers and glue from Menards, at 351 Silhavy Road in Valparaiso. The shoplifted items were worth $13.48.
* Janice Bennett, 19, of Portage, arrested at 8:30 p.m. Sunday at Kohl's, 6495 U.S. 6 in Portage, where she also is an employee. Bennett allegedly stole two pairs of underwear, worth $16, after clocking out for the day, according to the police report. Bennett told police she did not pay for the items because she is "trying to save money for the holidays."
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Shoplifting suspects didn't wait for sales
54 deported immigrants who returned arrested in NY
* NOVEMBER 20, 2010, 1:08 P.M. ET
NEW YORK — Federal immigration authorities in the New York City area have arrested 54 illegal immigrants with criminal records who had previously been deported but re-entered the United States.
Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the arrests came as part of a four-day sweep conducted in recent days that was the largest operation of its kind.
The arrests were made in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester and Orange counties. Those arrested are now in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Authorities said the arrested include a 39-year-old Dominican Republic man convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault involving a child and a 31-year-old Bahamas man convicted of robbery.
Six undocumented/illegal immigrants arrested in Tamworth and Jackson
By MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff
Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
JACKSON – Authorities arrested six undocumented/illegal immigrants this week in Tamworth and Jackson. They were turned over to the custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents, state police said Thursday.
Four from Honduras were arrested around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday by state and local police at an undisclosed construction site in Jackson.
They were identified as Linsi Teller Martinez-Turcios, 29; Nestor Humberto Ramirez Rivera, 45; Cristopher Gustavo Martinez-Martinez, 25; and Rufino Contreras, 32.
Information received from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol led state police to believe that Martinez-Turcios was working in the Jackson area for a local construction company and that he was wanted for a subsequent illegal immigration violation after he had previously been deported from the United States for a similar violation, according to state police.
This tip came after state police arrested two other undocumented/illegal immigrants on Route 16 in Tamworth on Monday.
The two men from Mexico were identified as Jose Robles-Carrera, 32; and Luis Manuel Ramirez, 21.
Norcross man jailed in Alabama on human-trafficking charge
Gwinnett County News 12:56 p.m. Tuesday, November 30, 2010
By Jeremy Redmon
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Norcross man is being held in an Alabama jail, accused of transporting a suspected illegal immigrant from the Atlanta area to Florence to sell him as a restaurant laborer.
Florence, Ala., police have charged Ming Zhang, 49, with second-degree human trafficking for allegedly trying to sell a Honduran man to a restaurant.
Police arrested Zhang on Nov. 23. He is being held at the Lauderdale County Detention Center, in northwestern Alabama. Police have not identified the Honduran man. They said they suspect he is in the country illegally but have not confirmed that.
FBI and Homeland Security authorities have been assisting with the case, Florence police said.
“While in Florence, the Honduran male realized what was going on and objected to the sale and called police,” said Florence Police Detective Justin Wright. “This is the first case that we have had of this nature. ... This is totally new from the Atlanta area.”
Zhang’s court-appointed attorney, Jeff Austin, declined to comment Tuesday. And a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had no immediate comment.
Arizona employer law nets immigrants, not companies
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
By Daniel C. Vock, Stateline Staff Writer
PHOENIX — The video footage on the Phoenix morning news one Monday in mid-November showed dozens of heavily armed sheriff’s deputies breaking in on a business to round up and haul off illegal immigrants. The target of the morning raid was a landscaping company, but this was the 40th time in the past two years that the Maricopa County sheriff had raided a workplace. Among those previously targeted were McDonald’s franchises, a military contractor, sellers of printer cartridges, a meat packing plant, specialty metalworkers and trash collectors.
Like the other raids, the move on Nunez Creative Landscaping was a show of force that played well in front of TV cameras. Dozens of deputies stormed the premises. Suspects were handcuffed and led away. A news helicopter hovered overhead. Later, Joe Arpaio, the controversial lawman who brands himself as “America’s toughest sheriff,” held a press conference on the scene in time to make the early morning shows. Arpaio said half of the company’s 52 employees were suspected of being in the country illegally. His officers nabbed 17 of them that Monday and have taken away nearly 500 from various businesses since the workplace raids began.
The raid had another familiar aspect: The company’s owners were not targets, even though Arizona has the country’s toughest law against employers who hire illegal immigrants. The sheriff said his officers did not have enough evidence to go after the owners. Arpaio defended the raid when asked about it by a local reporter. “If we don’t get the employer,” he said, “we’re sure going to continue to get the employees that are here illegally using false identification.”
In fact, despite the dozens of raids, only two companies have ever been forced to close their doors under Arizona’s three-year-old employee verification law. The punishments in those cases were trivial: A Subway sandwich shop agreed to close on Easter and Thanksgiving, and a water park agreed to a 10-day suspension, but only after it already had gone out of business.
The Legal Arizona Workers Act may be tough, but even its supporters say it has been a disappointment. It faces plenty of opposition here in Arizona, especially among business owners and civil rights advocates.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case next month to decide whether the Arizona law is legal, which could decide the fate of other state immigration laws, including Senate Bill 1070, the Arizona law passed this spring to give police more power to crack down on illegal immigration.
But just as important a question still lingers over Arizona’s employee verification law: Is it even effective?
New checks required
The 2007 law requires companies with Arizona workers to screen new hires using E-Verify, the online tool from the Department of Homeland Security that checks the legal status of applicants. On paper, the penalties for an employer failing to comply are steep: a 10-day shutdown for the first offense and, for a second violation, the loss of a business license, what is often called the corporate “death penalty.”
Thanks to the law, Arizona now has 70,000 company sites signed up for E-Verify. Even though Arizona accounts for only one out of every 50 people in the country, it has one-sixth of the nation’s companies using E-Verify.
The federal government sets rules for participation in E-Verify. First, employers can screen only new workers; they cannot go back and check out existing employees. Second, the companies can use E-Verify only for people they actually have hired. That is, the employers cannot run checks of candidates to “pre-screen” them before hiring them. And companies cannot use the tool to discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.
Bonnie Newman, a Phoenix lawyer who specializes in E-Verify issues, says some companies have hired additional personnel to handle the new requirements. Others are using outside vendors and some are simply adding it to the duties of their current human resources staff. “It does require for most companies a reengineering of their new hire process,” she says. “It adds a step and it adds complications.”
Newman is concerned that the reliance on E-Verify will spur identity theft. The E-Verify system is not foolproof. An independent analysis released last winter showed that the database flagged only about half of the applicants that it should have. The other half got through by using fake IDs of real people. For the most part, the system shows whether a person’s name, Social Security number and other vital information match federal records. It does not confirm whether an applicant is who he says he is.
In one case, making the system friendlier to legal workers opened up a vulnerability for identity theft. The Social Security Administration, whose records are used for E-Verify, now allows combinations of different components of a name to be used as a match, so “John James Smith” would match with “James John Smith” as long as the Social Security numbers are identical. Unfortunately, identity thieves have caught on and started issuing IDs with multiple names that will still clear E-Verify. Anecdotally, observers say identity theft is on the rise in Arizona as a result of the law. Last year, Arizona trailed only Florida for the most identity theft complaints per capita.
One of the sponsors of the law, Republican state Representative John Kavanagh, says the law has been a “toothless tiger” in that it does not give law enforcement enough tools. Specifically, Kavanagh, a former police officer, says prosecutors need subpoena power to investigate employers. The law does not give it to them. But business groups fought fiercely against that idea and could have derailed the whole bill had it remained, Kavanagh says.
A darker side
Lydia Guzman, president of Somos America (We are America), an immigrant rights coalition in Arizona, says the employee verification law has trapped undocumented workers in their current jobs. Companies cannot check the status of their current workers using E-Verify, but if the employee quits and tries to get another job, he or she will have to have their records checked. Some unscrupulous bosses know this, and use it against their employees, Guzman says. In one instance, she says, a cook at a Chinese restaurant was reluctant to complain when her boss slapped her and shoved her hand in a pot of hot soup. Another woman Guzman helped complained of sexual harassment at work but would not quit her job.
The raids have also hit home at Phoenix’s Neighborhood Ministries, where the father of four children who participate in the Christian group’s youth activities was arrested in one of the sweeps. Ian Danley, a pastor there, notes that, while 24 people were taken in that raid, no action has been taken against the employer. “As a person of faith, it is a justice issue,” he says. “If we are just going to punish the weakest, most vulnerable people, I have a problem with that.”
Although only two companies have been punished under the law, prosecutors are still pursuing a case against a third. That case, against Scottsdale Art Factory, has bounced between federal and state courts. As part of the back-and-forth, the company is now accusing the sheriff’s office of civil rights violations.
According to David Selden, a Phoenix employment lawyer who represents the company, some 50 sheriff’s deputies entered the firm’s buildings through multiple doors with guns drawn, pointing at employees and even the elderly mother of one of the owners. The officers separated Hispanics from whites and processed them separately. They took photos of the Hispanic suspects but not the white ones. In fact, one of the white workers spoke little English and needed a Bosnian translator but did not undergo the same scrutiny as the Hispanic workers. Some of the white workers were not asked for identification, Selden alleged in court documents. He says the differential treatment rendered the raid unconstitutional.
The employer verification law is one of several measures Arizona has enacted since 2004 to try to stem the tide of illegal immigration. The state imposed rules to require voters to prove their citizenship when they registered (a law struck down last month), limited state-funded services to illegal immigrants, passed the employee verification law and, this spring, gave police more power to enforce immigration law (a law now largely put on hold by federal courts).
When Arizona legislators passed this spring’s immigration enforcement law, they explicitly stated that their goal was to encourage illegal immigrants to leave the state. Indeed, the Pew Hispanic Center recently concluded that the population of unauthorized immigrants in a three-state region that includes Arizona was decreasing even before that law passed.
But Danley, the pastor, says most families he knows are staying put. The people who are leaving Arizona likely had not been there for long, he says. The moribund economy makes it hard for families to save up enough money to be able to move. “Right now,” Danley says, “people are in survival mode, and survival comes before escape.”
Fenway vendor fined in immigration audit
Cited in US review of employee forms
By Maria Sacchetti
Globe Staff / November 10, 2010
The food concessionaire at Fenway Park is among five New England companies that federal immigration officials fined last fiscal year for being unable to prove that all their workers were in the United States legally.
Officials would not say if the vendor, Aramark of Philadelphia, had actually hired illegal workers at Fenway Park, but they fined the company $50,000 for violations found during an audit of federal I-9 forms, paperwork that must be filled out by employees when they are hired to show they have legal authorization to work.
Bruce Foucart, head of investigations for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New England, which conducts the audits, said the reviews are designed to crack down on company owners who hire illegal workers, as well as workers who engage in criminal activity.
“I’m hoping that it’s acting as a deterrent for people,’’ he said.
He said that in some cases the audits uncovered illegal immigrants; in other cases, there were paperwork violations.
The other companies fined last year are Burger King franchises in several places in New England; a Somerville construction company; a seafood-processing plant in Maine; and an adult entertainment club in Maine.
Aramark officials said they have improved their paperwork processes, but would not comment further. The company said the fine was related to an audit in 2008.
“It has been our policy to hire people with appropriate and proper documentation, and we are committed to complying with the law in all of our hiring practices,’’ said a spokesman, David Freireich.
The fines reflect the Obama administration’s policy shift last year to crack down on employers who hire illegal workers in hope that it will address the underlying causes that attract such workers to this country. Nationwide, immigration officials arrested and charged 187 employers last year for violations following the I-9 audits, up from 114 the year before and 135 two years ago.
Fines are on the rise as well. In New England, federal officials imposed $74,452.50 in fines last year, up from $14,534 in 2008. Nationwide, the fines rose tenfold from $675,209 two years ago to nearly $7 million last year.
4 indicted in smuggling case
By Katherine Rosenberg
Corpus Christi Caller Times
Posted November 30, 2010 at 7:43 a.m., updated November 30, 2010 at 7:44 a.m.
CORPUS CHRISTI — Four people, including a Portland firefighter and an Army National Guard member, were indicted on charges of smuggling illegal immigrants and money laundering, according to the United States Attorney’s South Texas District Office.
Firefighter Peter Jones, 26; Lorena Martinez, 36; National Guard member Beatrice Rodriguez, 39; and Josesantos Zacarias, 42, were arrested Nov. 23 and all but Zacharias had a detention hearing Monday before a U.S. magistrate judge, according to a news release.
The indictment alleges the four defendants conspired to transport illegal immigrants from Mexico by car from 1993 to 2010. It also accuses all but Zacharias of structuring withdrawals from a bank account to avoid reporting the income, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Amounts less than $10,000 were withdrawn in 2006 to purchase property in Corpus Christi and Portland, according to the news release. The homes now are subject to forfeiture because they allegedly were purchased with money gained from illegal activity.
When searching the home of Jones and Martinez officials, found more than $21,000 in cash and other financial documents. At that time, a fifth person was arrested after being accused of making a false claim of American citizenship, officials said.
At the hearing, Jones and Rodriguez were ordered released after posting $1,000 of a $30,000 bond. Martinez has been ordered detained without bond pending trial. Zacharias remains in custody pending a detention hearing because he is a Mexican national, officials said.
All four counts alleged in the indictment are conspiracy to transport undocumented immigrants, conspiracy to launder money and two counts of money laundering carry a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Jones and Martinez made headlines last year when the firefighter delivered his wife’s baby on top of the Harbor Bridge on Christmas Day.
ICE arrest records show most illegal immigrants caught in state lack criminal records
By GAVIN OFF World Data Editor
Published: 11/29/2010 2:21 AM
Last Modified: 11/29/2010 5:15 AM
Most illegal immigrants arrested by fugitive operations teams in Oklahoma do not have criminal records, data show.
And, although the data are incomplete, most of those with an arrest history committed misdemeanors, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency reported.
The ICE data detail more than 1,100 arrests of illegal immigrants in Oklahoma since 2008. It's unclear exactly how many individuals were arrested because the data do not include names. They could include multiple arrests for a single person.
The Tulsa World reviewed the information, which it obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE.
Doug Stump, the vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said: "I'm convinced (ICE's) mission as charged to focus on criminal aliens has been sidetracked. I think (ICE's) job is to protect the country from harm. I don't know that a 60-year-old grandmother who missed her deportation meeting has a priority nearly as high as someone who's committed a violent crime."
ICE developed the National Fugitive Operations Program in 2003 to find and deport fugitive illegal immigrants. It started with eight teams. Now it has more than 100.
Fugitives are those who have received final deportation orders from an immigration judge but have refused to go.
ICE reports indicate that the fugitive operations program should focus on:
* Fugitives who pose a threat to national security.
* Fugitives convicted of violent crimes or who otherwise pose a threat to the community.
* Fugitives convicted of crimes other than violent offenses.
Teams then can focus on those remaining fugitives.
But of the 1,118 arrests by the fugitive operations teams in Oklahoma since 2008, 59 percent involved people who did not have criminal records, data show. Fifty-four percent of those arrested in the Tulsa area had no criminal records.
"I would rather see my local law enforcement officers protect me from criminal activity," said Stump, whose law firm has offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
Carl Rusnok, an ICE spokesman, said the agency focuses on removing criminals and targets non-criminals as resources allow.
"We prioritize," he said. "We prioritize our budget, we prioritize our time."
Rusnok said nearly 393,000 people were deported from the U.S. in the last fiscal year. ICE reports show that more than 195,000 had criminal convictions.
Of the 463 criminal arrests by the fugitive operation teams in Oklahoma since 2008, 126 had felony convictions, data show. Again, a single person could have been charged with multiple crimes.
For example, Roberto Salvador Alvelais-Torres, 28, killed a 74-year-old Tulsa cyclist in a hit-and-run last year near U.S. 75 and the 1700 block of Southwest Boulevard. He was arrested on complaints of negligent homicide by motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident and operating a vehicle without a valid driver's license or insurance.
The crimes of those arrested in Oklahoma include 55 assaults, 26 hit-and-runs, 13 homicides and seven weapons offenses.
Carol Helm, the director of the group Immigration Reform for Oklahoma Now, said ICE wasn't removing enough illegal immigrants.
She said it should not target only those who might be dangerous. Illegal immigrants, criminal and noncriminal alike, take jobs from U.S. citizens, she said.
"Any violator of our immigration laws should be deported," she said. "That's just the bottom line of it."
Annual budget for the National Fugitive Operations Program by fiscal year
2006: $63.3 million
2007: $183.2 million
2008: $218.9 million
2009: $226.5 million
2010: $229.7 million
Crimes committed by illegal aliens who were arrested by fugitive operations in Oklahoma from 2008 through mid-2010
Hit and run: 26
Cocaine sales: 15
Marijuana sales: 13
(A single person might have been charged with multiple crimes)
Source: Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Washington state won't join U.S. immigration program
Rights: Fingerprints would be checked in jails against database
LORNET TURNBULL; The Seattle Times | • Published November 30, 2010
Washington state has declined to sign an agreement that would allow the fingerprints of people booked into local jails to be checked against a national immigration database.
Immigration officials say the idea behind Secure Communities, a federal program rolling out across the country, is to identify, detain and eventually deport those subject to removal from the country, with a particular focus on those who have committed serious crimes.
But Secure Communities is controversial in some places where it operates, with immigrant advocates saying that it snags immigrants who’ve committed only minor offenses and could discourage people from reporting crimes to the police.
The program is in 788 jurisdictions across 34 states, including Oregon, Idaho and California, and in the past two years has led to the expulsion of some 46,800 individuals from the country.
The Department of Homeland Security, which runs Secure Communities through its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division, said it will be in every jail nationwide by 2013.
Over the last year, ICE has been trying to reach agreements with the agency in each state that serves as that state’s clearinghouse for fingerprint data. Any agreement with that agency would cover all local jurisdictions in the state.
In Washington, that agency is the State Patrol, which has chosen not to sign the agreement to activate Secure Communities here.
“We are a state law-enforcement agency, and we don’t want to go down the road of being an immigration agency,” Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins said. “The chief and the governor are of the same mind on this.”
A spokeswoman for Gov. Chris Gregoire said the governor has not yet made a “final determination.”
Calkins also said that while the State Patrol hasn’t signed the agreement, it won’t prevent local jurisdictions from doing so.
Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which advocates for stronger immigration enforcement, said Washington’s position is wrongheaded political correctness.
Local authorities, he said, don’t refuse to cooperate with other federal law-enforcement agencies, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“What possible justification can they have for not turning over this information that might be the one opportunity to catch someone who is really dangerous?” Mehlman asked. “They are just asking for some future tragedy.”
Those who advocate for immigrants and worked with the state in evaluating the program said there are still too many unanswered questions about how it works.
ICE, they say, falsely promotes this as a program that targets only serious criminals. In reality, they point out, the fingerprints of those who become naturalized citizens or obtain their green cards are also in the immigration database along with those who might have encountered immigration officers for any number of other reasons – and a traffic violation that results in their arrest might land them in deportation proceedings.
Jorge Barn, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said there also are concerns about any chilling effect the program might have. “Whenever you get local law enforcement involved in immigration enforcement in this way, immigrant-community members become afraid of coming forward and reporting crime they may have witnessed or been a victim to,” he said.
ICE officials say there’s no evidence that’s happening and point out that only the fingerprints of people who have been arrested are submitted for screening.
ICE is phasing the program in, county by county, as it builds its infrastructure over the next few years, with immediate activation in those jurisdictions with the largest caseloads.
But it is facing pushback in some places.
In at least two jurisdictions in California, where the state’s Department of Justice has signed the agreement with ICE, officials have inquired about opting out of participation.
San Francisco says the program violates its status as a sanctuary city, which forbids cooperation with ICE unless mandated by law.
ICE now says communities may not opt out, after earlier saying they would be allowed to. Secure Communities expands on a program ICE already operates across the country that allows its officers to check the names of people who’ve been booked into jails and prisons against ICE’s national database.
ICE then places a detainer on those deemed deportable, requesting that local law enforcement hold them for up to 48 hours until an ICE officer can pick the person up.
Deported once already, man charged again
BY THOMASI MCDONALD - Staff Writer
Published Tue, Nov 30, 2010 04:12 AM
Modified Tue, Nov 30, 2010 10:39 AM
RALEIGH -- A man immigration officials deported in 2008 for drunken driving entered the country illegally only to be arrested again on an outstanding warrant charging him with sex offenses against a minor, authorities reported Monday.
When Rey David Rosas-Rosas, 29, of Raleigh was deported back to Mexico on Dec. 18, 2008, by officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Law Enforcement, he managed to elude another warrant for his arrest by Garner police charging him with one count each of felony indecent liberties with a child and statutory rape, said Sgt. Scott Crawford of the Garner police.
Crawford said prior to Rosas-Rosas being charged in Wake County with driving while impaired, Garner police had obtained a warrant charging him with taking indecent liberties with a 14-year-old Aug. 1, 2004. But before Garner police could arrest him, Rosas-Rosas was deported.
When Garner police realized what had happened to their suspect, they went to the Wake County District Attorney's Office on Feb. 6, 2009, and entered his name in the National Crime Information Center database and in the N.C. Aware database.
Rosas-Rosas found his way back into the United States. He was stopped by Raleigh police Sunday on the 2000 block of South Saunders Street. He was charged initially with driving while impaired and with having an expired registration sticker, court records show.
Then an information check revealed the 2008 warrant, Crawford said. "There's no statute of limitations for a felony," Crawford said.
In addition to the criminal charges, the Wake County Sheriff's Office has placed a detainer on Rosas-Rosas with federal officials because they think he is again in the United States illegally, court records show.
Rosas-Rosas is being held in the Wake County jail. His bail for the DWI and expired registration charges is $5,000. Bail of $205,000 is required for the sexual offense charges.
Protesters arrested at Congressional office
By: Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Published November 30 2010
RACINE -- Three people were arrested at the Racine office of Congressman Paul Ryan on Monday night. It was part of a non-violent protest in favor of a bill to help some undocumented immigrants get into college or the U.S. military.
The DREAM Act would help undocumented people who entered the United States before the age of 16, have been in the U.S. for at least five consecutive years, and meet other requirements.
A Racine teacher and two members of the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera were arrested for trespassing at the Racine office of Representative Paul Ryan, when they refused to leave a late afternoon protest aimed at getting Ryan to support the DREAM Act as it possibly nears a vote.
Voces executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz was one of those arrested. Before the event, she said the time for civil disobedience has come.
Congressman Ryan released a statement to a Racine newspaper saying the DREAM Act should be debated by Congress in a comprehensive fashion that bolsters border security first.
Immigration raids in Cary
November 30, 2010
Posted at 2:10 PM by Sarah Ovaska
Here’s some breaking news from N.C. Policy Watch about an unusual immigration case in the Triangle area.
Two weeks ago, federal immigration agents arrived at three construction worksites in the Cary and Durham area and arrested more than two dozen workers from construction sites in the Cary and Durham area, according to court documents. All but one of the 20 arrested construction workers were Mexican nationals, and all worked for J&A Framing Carpentry Inc., a small Durham company that does framing work for residential and commercial building. They’ve been in jail since Nov. 15 and 17.
In the federal courthouse in Raleigh today, eight of the 20 men plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor criminal charge of “eluding examation of inspection by immigration officers,” meaning that the men were living in the country without permission of immigration officials.
Their punishment, as expected, was light. They were given a 30-day sentence in custody and ordered to pay $10 assessment. They’ll be deported to their home country of Mexico once they finish out the remaining two weeks of their punishment. The remaining twelve workers are still awaiting trials on criminal charges of their own, also related to being in the country illegally.
Tom O’Connell, the special agent-in-charge of the Cary office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office, declined to comment on the case, referring comment to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh. And Robin Zier, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, couldn’t answer any questions either, because the investigation is ongoing.
So why is this case unusual?
Most immigration violations are not handled through the federal criminal system, but instead go through the immigration courts system. It’s unclear why the 20 men picked up on the Cary worksites were charged criminally, and why they were targets of the federal investigation to begin with.
The New York Times reported in July on how immigration enforcement, under the Obama administration, has moved away from the workplace raids seen in this case and towards “silent” raids where pressure is put employers through fines to not hire undocumented workers. Workers are often then fired by the employers, but have not typically been rounded up in immigration raids like what was recently seen with J&A Framing.
Juan Antonio Lopez, the owner of J&A, said he hasn’t been charged anything, though he was asked to turn over accounting information for his company.
He appears to be a target, but Lopez told NC Policy Watch in a phone interview that he’s not been charged with anything, though he was questioned about his accounting and hiring practices by federal agents.
Check back with N.C. Policy Watch tomorrow morning when we’ll have a fuller report about the immigration raids themselves. If you’ve got questions, drop reporter Sarah Ovaska an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, several local immigration advocates plan on holding a vigil from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m tonight at the Louisburg Detention Center, where the detained workers are being held.
Arrested DREAM Act Protesters Released
Protesters Formed Human Chain Inside Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's Local Office
POSTED: Tuesday, November 30, 2010
UPDATED: 12:36 pm CST November 30, 2010
SAN ANTONIO -- More than a dozen protesters that were arrested Monday night at the local offices of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison following a six-hour protest, were released Tuesday morning.
The protesters were hoping to speak with Hutchison to get her to support the DREAM Act, which would grant some illegal immigrants permanent resident status if they meet certain criteria. However, their act of civil disobedience ended without a talk.
Police said the protesters arrived at 3 p.m. and formed a human chain inside the office while others formed a blockage towards the doorway to the office.
Just after 9 p.m., the first protesters were led away in handcuffs. Eight students were taken out minutes later.
The students were part of a group of 14 that started a hunger strike 20 days ago as a show of support for the DREAM Act. Police said protesters will be charged with criminal trespassing.
Immediately after the arrests, other supporters gathered at the Magistrate's Office and held a candlelight vigil Tuesday morning for those arrested.
One demonstrator said the arrests Monday night were necessary to put pressure on Hutchison.
"It's a question that has never been put before her here in Texas," said Marta Quintanilla. "Our actions from yesterday are just going to create a domino effect across Texas."
Quintanilla also added member of her group expect to be arrested again for staging future protests.
KSAT-12 received a statement from Hutchison's office regarding the arrests Monday evening.
Her staff said they attempted to close the San Antonio field office at the normal time and student protesters refused to leave.
Staff asked security to escort the students from the office and requested no arrests be made.
The students continued to resist and that resulted in their arrest.
The statement noted Hutchison appreciated these students' passion for their cause, but hoped they can find safer and more peaceful ways to voice their opinions.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Federal Judge Downes frustrated by employers
by Greg Fladager
Thursday, November 25, 2010 3:46 PM MST
“I’ve had a bellyful of this hypocrisy,” said Federal Judge William Downes in Casper as he was about to sentence another illegal immigrant from Mexico.
Standing before him was Manuel Sanchez Rodriquez, who had been arrested for drunk driving. It almost doesn’t matter where, it could be anywhere in Wyoming.
Judge Downes made the comment as he was inquiring whether Rodriquez held steady employment in his past three years in the state, and with what company.
“Lightning Construction,” Rodriquez said in Spanish, the word “lightning” getting confused in translation, just as it had when interviewed for his pre-sentence report.
“Did you have steady employment?” the judge asked again.
“Two years and eight months,” Rodriquez finally stated though a translator.
“Has any American in Evanston who hired you ever asked for documentation?” the judge continued.
Rodriquez paused, listening to the translator, and then said, “No.”
“Sadly, that’s the state of justice in America … ” Downes remarked, shaking his head, noting only the illegal workers are prosecuted, not the employers, then further commenting while some Americans are duped, many knowingly violate the law. This was the judge’s second hearing on an undocumented worker that morning.
“You, we criminalize,” Downes said looking at Rodriquez. “We don’t look at the criminal behavior, or potential criminal behavior, of employers … only yours.”
Rodriquez told the judge he was from a poor family in the state of Chihuahua, and had come to work and earn money to help his family, and brothers and sisters. This will be second time he has been deported.
“I know things are very hard in the state of Chihuahua right now,” Downes said, pausing, “but you have violated the law … ” and he went on to sentence Rodriquez to six months in prison (the minimum under federal guidelines), plus three years probation (if for some reason he isn’t deported), and no fines (because of the defendant’s inability to pay).
“If you come back across the border and I’m still a judge here, I will deal with you harshly,” Downes warned.
As he concluded the hearing, the judge put in a recommendation that the Bureau of Prisons place Rodriquez in a facility close to the border with Chihuahua, and then wished Rodriguez well in finding work, along with a good future, in his home state.
Perhaps it was simply a reminder of what he had said earlier in the proceedings, “You didn’t hurt anyone, you came here to work.”
Guatemalan relatives to join Postville Agriprocessors workers
BY TONY LEYS • TLEYS@DMREG.COM • NOVEMBER 26, 2010
More than two dozen Guatemalans are scheduled to arrive soon in Postville, where they will join relatives who helped investigators after a 2008 immigration raid.
Most of the newcomers are children whose mothers used to work at Postville's Agriprocessors meatpacking plant. A few are the siblings or parents of former child workers.
Sonia Parras Konrad, a Des Moines immigration lawyer who represents many of the families, said 28 Guatemalans are expected to arrive in the northeast Iowa town Dec. 4. She said most are the children of women who obtained "U-visas" for cooperating with investigators. The women had to demonstrate they were victims of crimes, such as sexual assaults, that left them with serious physical or mental injuries.
A U-visa allows an immigrant to stay in the United States four years and to seek a longer stay if the immigrant can show returning to her home country would seriously harm herself and a child who is a U.S. citizen, Parras Konrad said. "It is very complicated and hard to get," she said.
The Postville immigration raid was one of the largest ever at a single U.S. plant. Hundreds of immigrant workers, mainly Guatemalans and Mexicans, were arrested on identity-theft charges for using false immigration papers. Most of them pleaded guilty to reduced charges, served five months in prison, then were deported. But more than 40 were granted U-visas for cooperating with investigators.
Decorah-area churches helped raise money for loans for airfare from Guatemala to Chicago. The churches also arranged for a bus to carry the immigrants from Chicago to Postville.
David Vasquez, a Luther College pastor who has helped organize assistance for the workers, said many of the women have not seen their children in years. "Now they have the opportunity to live out their dreams and support their families," he said.
Vasquez said that when the raid happened, he could not have predicted a good outcome for any of the former Agriprocessors workers. Most were hustled through mass court proceedings, in which they were pressured into pleading guilty, he said. "An essential piece of our law is that individual cases be looked at individually."
Parras Konrad persuaded authorities to look more carefully at some of the cases, he said, and the authorities decided the immigrants deserved to stay.
Parras Konrad said most of the women still live in Postville and hope to become U.S. citizens. They work in various jobs, including housecleaning and child care. A few have returned to the packing plant, now under new ownership and called Agri Star.
Parras Konrad said the women were routinely mistreated under the old owners. "They have seen a huge difference in before and after," she said. For example, she said, the women now receive meal breaks and may stay home if they're sick.
Only a few cases reach court in stolen ID investigations
By VICKY TAYLOR Staff writer
Posted: 11/26/2010 11:51:29 PM EST
Chambersburg Police Department detectives filed charges this year against at least 10 people using stolen or forged identity documents to live and work here, but only a few of those cases have reached the county court level.
Borough police have been involved in an ongoing investigation into the sale of Puerto Rican identity documents, forged Social Security cards, and permanent resident alien cards -- identifying and charging a number of people.
Many simply failed to show up for court.
Those that did show up have reached various stages in the criminal justice system.
An U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer has been placed on one Mexican national arrested this month for using stolen or forged identity documents. Police had been looking for him since January.
The detainer issued by ICE will keep Jorge Saul Garcia-Arguello, 36, at Franklin County Jail until his local case makes its way through the Court of Common Pleas. He is charged with identity theft for allegedly using a Puerto Rican Social Security card belonging to someone else to get work at Benshoff Fence Inc. in Chambersburg.
Garcia-Arguello's case is expected to quickly make its way through the local judicial system. His formal arraignment on the identity theft charge, a first-degree misdemeanor, is set for Dec. 8, compared to the January arraignments set in most cases heard in Magisterial District Central Court this week.
Once his case is settled, Garcia-Arguello will be turned over to ICE to begin deportation hearings. Meanwhile, he is being held on $25,000 bail.
One member of a family identified as a Mexican national using the name and Social Security number of a Puerto Rican woman was sentenced to probation by a Franklin County judge on Wednesday.
It is unknown if Yolanda Zamorano-Perez, 40, will be detained by ICE for deportation proceedings. Identity theft charges were filed against her on Aug. 19. She was released on $25,000 unsecured bail on Aug. 23.
She showed up for her preliminary hearing on Aug. 31, and her formal arraignment September 14. She pleaded guilty to the identity theft charge on Oct. 13 and was handed the probation sentence by Judge Richard Walsh on Wednesday.
Several of her relatives did not show up for their scheduled court hearings, however.
Cases are still pending on the magisterial court level against three other relatives:
- Ana Marie Zamorano-Perez, 33, one count of identity theft. The charge was withdrawn during a preliminary hearing Aug. 31.
- Armando Zamorano-Perez, 21, arrested Aug. 20 on an identity theft charge. He had a preliminary hearing Oct. 5 and a formal arraignment last week.
-Ema Zamorano-Perez, who was arrested Aug. 23 and charged with two counts of identity theft, then released on unsecured bail. That bail was revoked when she didn't show up for a preliminary hearing Aug. 31. She is still at large.
- Manuel Hernandez-Lopez on July 27, who is charged with two counts of misdemeanor identity theft. An arrest warrant was issued, but police were unable to find him.
Cases are also pending in magisterial court against two members of an unrelated family, Sandra Arana Corado-Asencio, 25, and Maria Corado-Asencio, whose age is not listed in court documents. The two women are from Guatemala.
Identity theft charges were filed against Maria Corado-Asencio on July 1. Charges were filed against her niece, Sandra Corado-Asencio on Aug. 6.
Authorities have not located either woman to serve them with the citations filed with Magisterial District Judge Gary Carter in Chambersburg.
Another immigrant currently in the process of being deported by ICE was on Wednesday's court list for a disposition hearing.
Pedro Cano Urbano, 40, who had been living in Fayetteville when he was arrested on three identity theft and three forgery charges in March, is accused of using several names and obtaining numerous forged identity documents while living in Franklin County.
In S.D., deportations are few
But supporters call illegal immigration initiative effective
JOHN HULT • JHULT@ARGUSLEADER.COM • NOVEMBER 28, 2010
An effort to find and remove illegal immigrants with criminal records from South Dakota has led to the deportation of five people in its first five months.
The five are among a larger group of 3,127 immigrants removed from South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota so far in 2010.
The Secure Communities Initiative asks jailers to send the fingerprints of every new inmate through a federal database to quickly identify illegal immigrants most likely to pose a danger to the community.
Minnehaha and Pennington counties joined June 22. Custer, Fall River and Jackson counties soon followed.
Of the almost 4,500 sets of prints scanned since then, only 12 have prompted action by a response from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Some South Dakota lawmakers say the small return from the ICE program is further proof that the federal government's strategies are ineffective. They say a set of Arizona-style state laws punishing illegal immigrants and anyone who offers them a job, a home or transportation could force the hand of Washington, D.C.
Others see the numbers as a sign that South Dakota's immigration issues aren't pressing enough for a law that could fill state jails with international offenders and draw costly legal challenges.
Feeding A Growing Distrust
Victim's advocates fear that programs such as Secure Communities and laws such as Arizona's do little but foment distrust between law enforcement and minorities.
For Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead, who signed off on the fingerprint checks this summer at ICE's request, deportations never were meant to be the measure of the program's success.
Secure Communities, he said, is simply a way to foster communication between frustrated agencies tasked with tackling a problem that has grown larger than the laws written to deal with it.
"Whether it's one or it's 100, the key is that there's a mechanism in place to link us together," Milstead said. "I think many Americans realize that our current laws and current enforcement are marginal at best."
No Drawbacks, Sheriff Says
Milstead didn't expect huge numbers. Realistically, the program is designed to catch people who already have been caught at least once.
"Most people who are here illegally are not going to have their fingerprints in a database," he said.
Still, he said, there was no reason not to join the program. Signing up is free and gives ICE a chance to catch the worst of the worst.
Before Secure Communities, new prints were checked only against the Federal Bureau of Investigation's criminal database. Now, the prints go there and to the Department of Homeland Security, ICE's parent agency.
Immigration officers get a notice every time the system detects a previously-convicted criminal or possible illegal immigrant.
It's up to ICE to decide what to do after that. The agency does not and cannot pursue everyone, ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer said. Not every crime is a deportable offense under federal law.
A drug conviction involving narcotics qualifies a person for deportation, for example. A drug conviction involving an ounce or less of marijuana is not.
Simply being in the country illegally doesn't catch ICE's attention.
"That's why we try to focus on those violent offenders," Neudauer said.
ICE wants every county jail in the nation to join Secure Communities. Since it began in 2008, 788 jurisdictions in 34 states have signed up.
Neudauer also was not surprised at the number of deportations in South Dakota. Three counties in Montana signed up on July 27, and ICE has not detained or deported anyone.
"It takes time for these cases to move through the system," he said.
Not Time-Consuming Cases
U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson has one experienced prosecutor for immigration cases in each of his three offices. They deal with felony cases of illegal reentry after deportation, most of which originate through ICE investigations.
Immigration judges generally deal with nonfelony deportations.
The number of felony cases in South Dakota has fluctuated but held relatively steady for the past 10 years, even as the foreign-born population has more than doubled in some parts of the state.
Such cases amount to 15 percent to 18 percent of Johnson's caseload. ICE can send as many as they find, Johnson said, because cases often are open-and-shut affairs with clear proof of re-entry.
"These cases are not very time-consuming," Johnson said. "We have plenty of resources that have been allocated to us."
Counties pass court information along to ICE as well. Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan has opened 25 cases for possession of a forged instrument, a crime that most often refers to a fake Social Security card used by an illegal immigrant.
State prosecutors dismiss those cases if the defendant is taken into ICE custody.
"If they're going to be deported and we can save some tax dollars on that ... we're going to work with federal authorities," McGowan said.
Six of the 25 county forged instrument cases have been dismissed so far, McGowan said, while eight people have pleaded or been found guilty and 11 cases are still open.
Federal Policies Criticized
McGowan, like Milstead and Johnson, said ICE officers in South Dakota are accessible and easy to work with. Because Secure Communities makes it easy to trade information, they all support the program.
So do state Rep. Manny Steele and state Sen. Craig Tieszen. However, they think policies at the federal level limit ICE officers and let too many immigrants free.
Nationwide, concerns about civil liberties have cropped up through Secure Communities. But law officers here and elsewhere say the program is necessary to deal with problems caused by insecure borders.
Mitchell's Salgado Case
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley points to the killing of 16-year-old Mitchell High School student Jasmine Guevara by Alexander Salgado as an example of such problems.
Salgado is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for his part in Guevara's November 2009 murder. She burned to death in the trunk of her own car in rural Hanson County after being stabbed repeatedly by Salgado and his 15-year-old girlfriend.
Both Salgado and his 15-year-old girlfriend were in the U.S. illegally.
"He shouldn't have even been here, and he ended up killing a little girl," Jackley said.
Milstead said he thinks the coming immigration debate in the legislatures of South Dakota and almost two dozen other states "scratches the surface" of the national immigration reform voters want.
For law enforcement, especially in smaller communities without the easy access Milstead has to ICE officers, there can be disappointment. Officers can collect evidence on illegal immigrants, but in the end, local agencies must rely on ICE.
"We have a marginal ability to act in these situations," Milstead said.
For Huron Police Chief Doug Schmitt, the frustration has translated into inaction.
In many cases, "if we encounter someone we know to be in the country illegally, we can pick them up but ICE won't come get them," he said. "It's frustrating, at best."
N.C. student Fredd Reyes detained in Georgia for-profit prison
November 29th, 2010 by Rhiannon Bowman in News
A young man, Fredd Reyes, who has lived 22 of his 24 years in North Carolina is now awaiting deportation in a for-profit prison in Georgia, which only makes the headlines for abusing inmates, because his parents brought him to the United States as a child. Despite the fact that they came here from Guatemala after facing death and persecution, a federal judge denied their request for asylum in 2000.
Reyes earned his Associates Degree from Davidson County Community College and later transferred to Guilford Tech. The morning he was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, who knocked on his door at 5 a.m., he was supposed to take an exam.
Reyes isn’t a criminal, he doesn’t consider any other country to be his home, he didn’t come here on his own accord, he’s been separated from his family and his education cut short. And, for what? So we can feel good about sending an undocumented immigrant “home”?
On top of everything else, Reyes qualifies for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, Act, which would help him become a legal citizen. Unfortunately, the legislation has been snagged in Congress for years. But, instead of evaluating how our system has let him and his family down, we’ve decided instead to dedicate thousands of dollars to deport him? Seriously? What we need to be doing is making sure this young man graduates.
Change.org notes that Reyes is eligible for the DREAM Act. “Like others who have faced the injustice of our immigration system and the Stewart Facility, Fredd has the potential for an approved green card awaiting him on the other side of the walls that now deprive him of his freedom,” they write.
Reyes’ case is yet another perfect example of the inherent problems of our immigration system. It paints a clear picture of a young, law-abiding young person aspiring to greater education and community involvement being stopped in his or her tracks by a system that fails to take into account the complexities of the issue.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Adoption case attracts attention of immigration, advocacy groups
By Susan Redden
November 3, 2010
Interest in an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court that is being brought by a Carthage couple doesn’t stop at county, state or even national borders.
Briefs in the case have been filed on behalf of several organizations, including the consulate general of Guatemala.
Those filings are in addition to written arguments on behalf of Seth and Melinda Moser, of Carthage, and on behalf of a woman from Guatemala who has challenged the Mosers’ adoption of her child while she was jailed on immigration violations. The issue will be argued before the high court on Tuesday in Jefferson City.
The focus of the challenge is a boy, now nearly 4 years old, who was adopted in 2008 after his biological mother, Encarnacion M. Bail Romero, was arrested in an immigration sweep at a Barry County poultry plant. Romero contends that she never agreed to the adoption and is seeking custody.
The Mosers have had custody of the child they call Carlos Jamison since he was about a year old, and they maintain that the adoption was legal. A state appellate court ruled that the Jasper County Circuit Court lacked the authority to transfer custody of the child. That ruling was appealed to the high court by the Mosers.
The case has attracted interest, and support for the natural mother, from groups that advocate for immigrants and women. Groups filing court briefs on the mother’s behalf thus far include the Immigrant Child Advocacy Project, Legal Momentum, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Women’s Refugee Commission, the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, and the Washington University School of Law.
Information on briefs that may be filed in support of the Mosers was unavailable. Joe Hensley, attorney for the couple, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
Rockford man arrested on drug distribution charges
Posted Nov 03, 2010 @ 11:45 PM
ROCKFORD — State Line Area Narcotics Team officers arrested a Rockford man Tuesday in an ongoing cocaine distribution investigation.
Ernesto Martinez, 54, of the 2800 block of Bildahl Street in Rockford was charged while in custody at the McHenry County Jail where he is being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement pending deportation proceedings.
Martinez was arrested on a Winnebago County warrant for seven counts of delivery of a controlled substance. Martinez distributed a quarter kilo of cocaine to an Illinois State Police informant for five months in 2009. The Winnebago County arrest warrant is a no bond warrant.
The investigation is continuing and more arrests are anticipated.
The State Line Area Narcotics Team is made up of officers from the Freeport, Loves Park, Rockford, and Monroe, Wis. police departments, the Stephenson County and Green County, Wis., sheriff’s departments and the Illinois State Police.
Judge reverses his decision in drug case
Original order could have helped accused dealer, 19, avoid deportation
November 4, 2010
By Julie Manganis Staff writer
The Salem News Thu Nov 04, 2010, 06:00 AM EDT
SALEM — A judge has reversed his own controversial decision to try to help an accused drug dealer avoid deportation by continuing the case without a finding for just one day short of a year.
Peabody District Court Judge Richard Mori yesterday granted a motion filed by prosecutors to reconsider his original order in the case against Josue Santiago, 19.
He vacated Santiago's continuation without a finding and then imposed a guilty finding and two years of supervised probation.
In September, Mori came under criticism for imposing the 364-day continuation without a finding, after Santiago's lawyer, William O'Hare, raised concerns about the potential impact of a longer sentence on Santiago's legal status in the country.
Santiago, O'Hare said, came to the United States with his family at the age of 11 and went on to graduate from Peabody High School. He is a legal resident, but a conviction could jeopardize his ability to stay in the country.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, were urging what is known as a "split" sentence, including some jail time and some suspended jail time and probation, for Santiago.
Santiago was arrested last year by Salem police detectives following a series of hand-to-hand cocaine sales to what turned out to be an undercover officer.
Santiago had a prior marijuana possession conviction on his record.
Prosecutor Jane Prince argued yesterday that the judge went beyond his authority in taking immigration status into account in fashioning a disposition in the case.
She cited a case in which a Boston Municipal Court judge had repeatedly dismissed cases on immigration grounds. He was later found to have acted improperly.
"Whether we agree or not, we're left with the statute before us," Prince said.
She also said that Mori's decision goes against public policy by creating a "two-tier system of justice."
"Every person that walks in that door ought to be treated equally," argued Prince, who went on to say that it would be just as wrong for a judge to sentence someone in a way that increases their likelihood of deportation.
"If a judge ever imposed a higher sentence to enhance the immigration consequences, we'd all be brought before the bar," Prince said.
O'Hare, who questioned whether prosecutors had the right to ask for a revised sentence, said yesterday that immigration issues were just one factor he was considering in his argument to Mori.
O'Hare said Santiago had graduated from high school and worked steadily for the year that it took his case to be resolved.
"So I was looking to try to keep his record clean, as if he were Bob Smith from Amherst Lane in Boxford," O'Hare argued. "I was moving for the (continuation without finding) for this fellow to protect his future as a participating member of society."
O'Hare said his client has abided by the terms of his probation and stayed out of further trouble.
Mori said immigration concerns were not the only reason for his sentence and noted that Santiago's prior record is "miniscule."
He acknowledged that he was not up-to-date on the current state of the law and didn't realize that there had been some court decisions that applied to the case until Prince filed them with her motion.
"I hear a lot of these cases," Mori said. "I had just not followed the changes in the law until I read these cases."
Independence Police Blotter
Published: Thursday, November 04, 2010, 8:56 AM
Sun News staff Sun News staff
FALSIFICATION, INTERSTATE 77: A passenger in a car that police stopped on I-77 on Oct. 10 was being held for investigation by federal immigration authorities. The man, who gave a Cleveland address, showed a passport from Guatemala but gave a name police could not confirm. Police stopped the car for illegally changing lanes.
Indian, Central American immigrants found at McAllen stash house
by Sergio Chapa
Posted: 11.04.2010 at 2:04 PM
A McAllen mother is behind bars after authorities found 17 illegal immigrants from India, Central American and Mexico inside her South Ware Road home.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Gloria Garza on harboring illegal immigrant charges on Tuesday.
Court records released Thursday show that FBI agents received a tip about illegal immigrants being housed at her mobile home.
Border Patrol agents performed surveillance at the Westway Mobile Home Park at 1300 South Ware Road.
The agents allegedly saw Garza carrying a baby and unloading groceries into her mobile home.
Agents got permission to search her trailer and found the immigrants inside.
Some of the immigrants said they had been there for at least one week.
Garza and three of the illegal immigrants being held as witnesses each appeared before a federal judge in McAllen.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Illegal Immigrant Facing Felony Self-Deports Himself
Arrest Warrant Issued For Torres-Ochoa
By Dayle Cedars, 7NEWS Reporter
POSTED: 4:03 pm MDT November 1, 2010
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- An illegal immigrant accused of felony theft will not stand trial. Instead, he was given the chance to go home to Mexico.
Damacio Torres-Ochoa was scheduled in court Monday afternoon in Jefferson County to face charges of theft from an at-risk adult. But Torres-Ochoa never showed up in court. He was in Mexico.
"He self-deports," said Scott Storey, Jefferson County district attorney. "He says, 'You know what, I am illegally here, I don't want to fight it, get rid of me.' So what happens? They take him across the border. Do you think he comes back? Well my guess is he comes back and he comes back under another alias and we haven't got justice here."
Storey is outraged Torres-Ochoa was allowed to self-deport.
Storey said Torres-Ochoa bonded out of the Jefferson County Jail on Oct. 4. He was not allowed to leave, because Immigration and Customs Enforcement had placed a hold on him. Storey said on Oct. 6 ICE officials picked up Torres-Ochoa and on Oct. 19, Torres-Ochoa was flown to El Paso, Texas and walked across the border.
Robert Wallace, the victim in this case, learned of the deportation during the court hearing Monday.
"Some of it does not make any sense at all," said Wallace.
Storey said Torres-Ochoa drove the truck which was hooked up to Wallace's trailer when it was stolen.
"I don't know what to think," said Wallace, confused.
Torres-Ochoa faced 12 years in prison for the crime.
"If a person can self-deport without any consequences, you are treating him better than you are our own citizens," said Storey.
Wallace pleaded guilty in September to shooting at Damacio Torres-Ochoa and Alvaro Cardona while they were stealing the trailer. Cardona was shot in the head and suffered severe injuries. Wallace was sentenced to two years of probation for the shooting. He is now a convicted felon.
"I sat down and apologized to (Wallace)," said Storey, explaining how he said it was unfair Wallace had to face the consequences for his actions, yet Torres-Ochoa did not.
Storey said laws need to be changed to make sure something like this can't happen.
"When you have charges, felony charges, class 3 felony charges, that we are prosecuting, that have not come all the way through the system, (ICE) should be precluded from deporting (the suspect)," said Storey.
Storey said there is no law that requires immigration officials to keep an illegal immigrant in the country to face charges.
"It is almost like (ICE is) implicit in him escaping from justice," said Storey.
"By law, once we have received all necessary travel documents on an alien in ICE custody, we must remove him or her at the earliest opportunity," said Carl Rusnok, spokesman for ICE.
Storey said this entire thing would not be an issue had the judge, Thomas Vance, not reduced Torres-Ochoa's bond from $100,000 to $27,500.
"Thomas Vance knew he was an illegal because of the fact I had it on the paperwork," said Storey. "Yet he found it necessary to reduce it to $27,500."
Storey said he sent the chief county and district judges letters asking them to keep bonds high on known illegal immigrants because of their flight risk.
"It is a frequent problem that we local district attorneys face and it has got to stop," said Storey.
7NEWS contacted Vance who was unable to comment on the bond reduction, citing judicial rules on pending cases.
Torres-Ochoa used Reliable Bail Bonds to secure his bond.
7NEWS contacted Rosalie Montoya of Reliable Bail Bonds who said she will now apply for exoneration of forfeiture.
In 2007, the Colorado legislature passed a law that states if a bail bondsman secures a bond for a person who later turns out to be an illegal immigrant, the bondsman can get the bond back, minus the fee charged.
Montoya said the fee in this case was $2,750 for the $27,500 bond. Torres-Ochoa's sister also put up her house as collateral.
Montoya said she expects to gets everything back minus the $2,750. If for some reason she does not get the money back, she said she then has the right to go after Torres-Ochoa's sister's house.
On Tuesday, an arrest warrant was issued for Torres-Ochoa. His bond, if arrested, will be $250,000 cash.
Deputies: Immigrants Stashed In SUV
POSTED: 7:30 pm MST November 1, 2010
PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- Pinal County sheriff's deputies apprehended nine suspected illegal immigrants Monday morning after a short pursuit near Eleven Mile Corner Road.
A deputy said he saw a 1998 Dodge Durango pass him on Arizona Highway 287 and noticed between 8-12 passengers in the vehicle.
Deputies said they tried to stop the vehicle, which they said was going 70 mph in a 35-mph school zone and even illegally passed a school bus trying to get away.
When he began to chase the car, the driver came to a stop and some of the passengers ran toward the closest town, according to officials.
Two people were found in the back seat and admitted to being illegal immigrants from Mexico, according to the sheriff's office. Seven other suspected illegal immigrants were found hiding in bushes, three under a trailer and four more under a pile of tires in a back yard.
The three under the trailer also admitted to being in the U.S. illegally, deputies said.
All suspects were turned over to Border Patrol agents.
The car was registered to a Manuel Alonso Inzunza Moreno, who said his cousin Eloy Fabricio Inzunza Moreno had registered the vehicle in his name without his permission, officials said.
Pinal officials say Eloy Fabricio Inzunza Moreno is a "coyote" suspected of transporting illegal immigrants into the United States.
Deputies said they are still investigating the case and are looking for Eloy Fabricio Inzunza Moreno.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts are asked to contact the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
Deported Mexicans leave two small kids in Lodi
By Stephen Magagnini
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
LODI – Every day, 2-year-old Kimberly Vrabo peeks around her apartment complex for her mom. If she hears police sirens, she runs inside.
Kimberly's mother, Maria Magdalena Perez-Rivera, got into a fight with her boyfriend, Vicente Tellez, on a Saturday night.
The next morning, Perez-Rivera's sister called Lodi police. Two days later, the undocumented couple were deported to Mexico, leaving behind Kimberly and the couple's 3-month-old son Anthony Tellez.
Their swift removal has shattered the family. And Sacramento's Mexican Consul General Carlos González Gutiérrez and UC Davis Law School Dean Kevin Johnson question whether justice has truly been served.
More people are being deported than ever – 50,000 in Northern California in the last three years, compared to 17,317 from 2001-2003, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Half the deportees have been convicted of crimes.
But the Lodi couple, each charged with felony domestic violence, were never tried or convicted. Perez-Rivera, whose family claims she was beaten repeatedly, was not given the chance to apply for a U visa, which protects crime victims from being deported if they cooperate with law enforcement.
"This deportation scenario is all too common. It illustrates the potential pitfalls of local police cooperating with immigration authorities," said Johnson. "Immigrant women in particular are going to underreport domestic violence, and generally, immigrant communities are going to be less likely to cooperate with police for fear of being deported."
One third of Lodi's 65,394 people are Latinos.
"We do not deport people; we encourage victims and witnesses of crimes to feel free to speak with us," said police spokesman Eric Bradley. "Our interest is in protecting the community."
When the couple were booked into the Lodi jail on felony charges, their fingerprints were sent to ICE under the federal government's partnership with local law enforcement, Operation Secure Communities, designed to identify criminal aliens for possible removal.
"Instead of giving them a chance to talk to a judge and present their case for some type of legal relief to resolve the issue, two days later the ICE van picks them up and they are sent to Mexico," said González Gutiérrez. "The tragedy is that there are two little kids who remain with the grandmother."
Perez-Rivera's mom, Ana Maria Rivera, quit her $500 a week job at the cherry packing plant to care for her grandkids. "Maria's sad, she's afraid. She wants to come back, but she doesn't want to go back with Vicente," Rivera said.
If Perez-Rivera, 21, is caught trying to return to the United States, she could face two to 20 years for illegal re-entry.
Tellez, a 21-year-old farmworker, and Perez-Rivera started going out about a year ago and moved into their own apartment, according to family.
At 11 a.m. Sept. 19, Lodi police got a call from Perez-Rivera's 17-year-old sister Ana. "I wanted to go to church with her and I saw her with bruises and scratches on her face and body," she said.
That Sunday afternoon Tellez contacted police "to share his version," Bradley said. "He had scratches, a cut lip and a possible bite mark. It looks like the argument escalated into mutual combat; that's why she was arrested as well."
Neither Perez-Rivera nor Tellez had prior contact with police, Bradley said.
Police referred the case to the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office, which decided not to prosecute. The office did not return numerous calls from The Bee.
If the couple had been booked on lesser misdemeanor domestic violence charges, "ICE might not even have picked up on this because they're focusing on felonies," Johnson said. "But there's an incentive to charge them with the maximum and get them deported so you don't ever have to deal with the criminal charges."
On Sept. 21, Perez-Rivera was taken into custody by ICE agents, who are "routinely notified by jail officials when foreign nationals are booked," said ICE spokeswoman Lori K. Haley.
Perez-Rivera waived her right to an immigration hearing and signed documents agreeing to voluntarily depart the United States, Haley said. She was repatriated to Mexico later that day.
"She was told no bond was possible and she would have to stay in jail for an indefinite amount of time without her kids – the worst of both worlds," González Gutiérrez said. "Illegal immigrants have to make quick decisions with not enough information and no counsel. We asked ICE to grant her bail, but it was too late."
González Gutiérrez said the focus of the case should have been "on Maria as a victim of domestic violence, instead of deporting her."
The U.S. government has issued 10,000 U visas to immigrants who are crime victims or witnesses, said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokeswoman Chris Rhatigan. "It allows them authorization to work, and eventually apply for a green card."
But if an alleged victim of domestic violence is determined to be the aggressor, that could eliminate them as a U visa candidate, said ICE press secretary Kelly Nantel.
González Gutiérrez said Perez-Rivera's priority is to be reunited with her kids.
"She has two options," he said. "To try to come back into the U.S., pay a huge amount of money to a smuggler and run a much greater risk going through the desert, or get her kids to Mexico."
The consulate is trying to get permission from the fathers of both of Perez-Rivera's children to grant them Mexican passports and fly them to Mexico with a consular official, González Gutiérrez said.
Perez-Rivera wants her sister Ana to bring her kids to Mexico.
"She didn't want me to call the cops," her sister said. "But I don't regret making the call even though she's not here. She might have ended up in the hospital, or gotten killed."
Feds are set to deport Manhattan cabbie Eligio Valerio, 52, on old gun rap
BY Irving Dejohn, Barry Paddock and Erica Pearson
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Wednesday, October 27th 2010, 4:00 AM
A Manhattan cabbie who's had a green card for nearly 30 years is suddenly facing deportation - for a gun arrest in 1982.
Dominican immigrant Eligio Valerio, 52, didn't get any jail time for the ancient offense, but it could get him kicked out of the country he's called home for decades.
After digging up the old conviction, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents knocked on his door in Washington Heights last week.
Now he's in federal custody, awaiting a bond hearing, while his daughter is set to give birth to his first grandchild.
"I'm confused," said daughter Elibany Valerio, 30, a paralegal. "I don't know what's going on.
"He doesn't get in trouble. He didn't have anything to hide."
Valerio's family said that years ago, he bought an illegal gun for protection at his Washington Heights bodega.
After he was busted for it in 1982, he was sentenced to five years probation and ended up serving only three because of good behavior.
He's had no other brushes with the law, pays taxes every year and has traveled back and forth to the Dominican Republic with no problem, his relatives said.
Now it seems his American dream has become a casualty of a federal push to ship immigrants with criminal records back to their homeland.
Deportations hit a record high of 392,862 in the 12-month period that ended Oct. 1. Homeland Security officials boasted about half of those were ex-cons.
ICE declined to comment on Valerio's case or how his old conviction came to the agency's attention.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) is calling on Gov. Paterson to intervene on Valerio's behalf.
"He's an active person in the community ... . I don't know how the agency picked him," Rodriguez said. "That's the big question - what did he do?"
Peter Markowitz, director of the Immigration Justice Clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, said the law has long allowed for the deportation of legal residents convicted of minor offenses, no matter how far in the past.
Lately, though, he said, he has noticed a "disturbing trend" of people like Valerio sent packing.
"The sad trend that I've seen is an increased focus on pumping up numbers of deportations of people that they can claim are 'criminal aliens' without any attempt to look at the particulars of the situation," Markowitz said.
He fears there could be even more deportations with the advent of Secure Communities, a program that shares police department fingerprints with the feds.
It hasn't been implemented in New York City yet, but the state signed on in the spring.
Meanwhile, Elibany Valerio is worried that her father will not be in New York for the arrival of her baby, due in the next few weeks.
"I want him to be there for my labor - that's what upsets me, that he might miss it," she said.
Southampton Town Police Report: Nov. 2, 2010
Posted: Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Giedrius Karvelis, 30, of Forge Road in Calverton reported his boat becoming disabled in the Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays and was towed to a boat ramp by the Coast Guard last Thursday afternoon on Dune Road in Hampton Bays, after which officers performed an immigration check and found that Mr. Karvelis had an expired visa. The Coast Guard then contacted Southampton Town Police, who held Mr. Karvelis for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Call for help leads to possible deportation for Hyattsville mother
By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 1, 2010; 3:33 PM
Last Christmas Eve, Maria Bolanos made a decision she would later regret: During a fight with her partner, she called the Prince George's County police and sought their protection.
The call for help had disastrous consequences for Bolanos, a 28-year-old undocumented immigrant from El Salvador. Within months, she found herself ensnared in an increasingly controversial immigration enforcement program designed to deport undocumented criminals.
Bolanos now faces deportation and possible separation from her 21-month-old daughter, who was born here and is a U.S. citizen.
Her case illustrates what immigrant-rights advocates and some local officials consider the shortcomings of Secure Communities, the centerpiece of the Obama administration's immigration enforcement efforts and a program that has helped generate a record number of deportations.
Secure Communities, which already operates in the District, Maryland, Virginia and will soon be running nationwide, relies on the fingerprints collected by local authorities when a person is charged with anything from a traffic violation to murder.
In Bolanos's case, the officer who responded to the domestic dispute at her apartment in Hyattsville later charged her with illegally selling a $10 phone card to a neighbor - an allegation she denies. The charge was eventually dropped, but by then Bolanos had been been fingerprinted and found by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be in the country illegally.
She has been told she probably will be deported after a Wednesday hearing before an immigration judge in Baltimore.
Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said removals during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 included more than 1,000 murderers, nearly 6,000 sex-offenders, 45,000 drug-offenders and 28,000 drunk drivers. The number fell short of the agency expectation of 400,000 deportations but still surpassed the 2009 total of 387,790, the previous record.
Although ICE officials have touted the large numbers of criminals who are being deported via Secure Communities, they are unapologetic about the significant number of non-criminals being removed as well. In the past year, more than half of the 392,000 immigrants deported were convicted criminals; the rest had overstayed their visas or entered the country without authorization.
"ICE cannot and will not turn a blind eye to those who violate federal immigration law," said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Brian Hale. "While ICE's enforcement efforts prioritize convicted criminal aliens, ICE maintains the discretion to take action on any alien it encounters."
Not surprisingly, immigrant-rights groups have been critical of the administration's efforts to ratchet up deportations without delivering on the president's campaign promise to create a path to citizenship for the country's 11 million undocumented immigrants.
But Secure Communities also has come under attack in Arlington County, the District and other jurisdictions, where local officials worry that it is discouraging undocumented immigrants who are crime victims and witnesses from coming forward.
Those concerns are well justified, said Bolanos, speaking through a translator.
"You would have to be crazy to call the police," she said. "I would never call the police again."
Detained and desperate
Maria Bolanos works two jobs to pay her bills. She does janitorial work at an apartment complex Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and pulls a 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift at a restaurant Thursday through Sunday.
"Dora the Explorer" plays endlessly on the TV in her second-floor apartment, in deference to the wishes of her daughter, Melisa Arellano-Bolanos.
Framed pictures of the the Last Supper and of Jesus and Mary hang above the dining table. A photo of Bolanos's partner, Fernando Arellano, hugging Melisa is tucked into one corner of one of the frames.
Bolanos said she came to the United States in 2004 in search of a better life. She paid $7,000 to coyotes to help her cross the border via the Arizona desert.
The first time her party was caught, she said. She was released in the desert across the Arizona border from Mexico after being fingerprinted and photographed by authorities--and almost immediately crossed the border again.
She found her way to the Washington area and met Arellano at a restaurant where she worked. Arellano, now 34, was also undocumented and from Mexico. They fell in love and moved in together. Melisa was born in January 2008 at Washington Hospital Center.
The couple's fight began when Arellano came home late on Christmas Eve, Bolanos said, and quickly escalated into a shouting match.
By the time police arrived, Arellano had left the apartment.
Police charged Arellano with assault. That charge was dropped when neither Bolanos nor the police officer showed up in court, according to a spokesman for the Prince George's states attorney's office.
Months later, the fight forgotten, Bolanos found an arrest warrant waiting for her on the charge she was selling phone cards without a license.
"You would have to be crazy to call the police," she said. "I would never call the police again."
Authorities determined that she was in the country illegally and ordered her detained. Her ankles and wrists were shackled, she said, and she was moved to a detention facility in Upper Marlboro.
Bolanos said that she told authorities she was still breastfeeding her daughter but that they initially disregarded her plea to be released. After a doctor found that her breasts were engorged with milk, she was fitted with a locator ankle bracelet and sent home, pending the deportation hearing Nov 3.
In August, Arellano was booked by police for making an illegal traffic turn. Police found he did not have a driver's license and arrested him. His fingerprints went to ICE, too - and he was detained. Now he is also facing deportation.
"In both of these cases, Secure Communities functioned exactly as it was designed to, allowing ICE to identify individuals booked into jail for a state crime and who were also present in the country unlawfully," said ICE spokesman Hale.
But that's not how immigrant rights group see it.
"ICE is misrepresenting the program in order to implement a nationwide deportation instrument, said Gustavo Andrade, organizing director at CASA de Maryland, which has been trying to help Bolanos. "Even one family destroyed because of this kind of program makes it unacceptable."
Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey also expressed concern about a phone card charge leading to a deportation proceeding.
"We should target our limited state and federal law enforcement dollars on killers, rapists, child molesters, human traffickers and violent gang members," Ivey said in a statement. "This kind of defendant should not be a high priority."
If Bolanos and Arellano are both deported, he would have to go to Mexico and she to El Salvador, meaning Melisa would be left without at least one of her parents. In El Salvador, Bolanos said, her family has faced death threats from gangs, and her brother was killed a year ago.
As she talked, Melisa played with the charger attached to her mother's ankle bracelet. Bolanos spends two hours every day charging the device, which looks like a BlackBerry attached to her leg with a thick band of black rubber. It hurts when she walks.
Bolanos wears long jeans to cover the ankle bracelet.
"I'm really ashamed to show it in public," she said. "People see it and think I'm a murderer. I try to keep it covered at all times."