Friday, April 18, 2008

A Mistaken Identity (KETK-Tyler, TX)

A Mistaken Identity (click for video)
By Charlotte Huffman
Story Created: Apr 17, 2008 at 6:36 PM CDT

TYLER--Immigration attorneys associated with The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) held a news conference Thursday to inform the hispanic community of their legal rights during a raid. They also addressed a situation that they're now calling a "mistaken identity."

Olivia Garcia wiped tears from her own face during the news conference.

"I didn't think it was going to happen to us," Garcia said referring to the East Texas immigration raids that started Wednesday. About 45 Mount Pleasant Pilgrim's Pride employees were arrested and are accused of committing identity theft in order to work illegally in the U.S.

"Criminal cases like these show how illegal immigration can affect the American public like you and me...That's the focus of this," said ICE spokesperson, John Cackwin, during a news conference Wednesday.

LULAC representatives referred to Wednesday's raids as "terroristic-type raids."

"They create fear and panic among the hispanic community and especially immigrants. Several parents were afraid to take their children to school here in Tyler and Longview because they were afraid immigration would show up and take little Juan or Maria away. That shouldn't happen in America," said LULAC General Counsel, Domingo Garcia.

Immigration authorities knocked on Olivia Garcia's door in Mount Pleasant on Wednesday. They arrested her husband, Jesus Garcia, for working under a false social security number.

"I don't understand why they'd do that to him," said Olivia Garcia.

The Garcia's have lived in Texas for years. Jesus Garcia is a U.S. Resident and has a valid social security number.

"When they knocked, I told my husband, 'should we open the door,' and he said 'yeah, we don't have anything to hide,'" said Olivia Garcia.

Immigration agents mixed garcia up with another man who has since been arrested. Garcia's immigration attorneys are calling it a case of a mistaken identity and a case involving racial profiling.

"(It seems) if you look hispanic, then you must be an illegal alien," said Domingo Garcia.

Garcia is still being held in Gregg County. Immigration attorneys are working trying to have him released. However, they say that this case of mistaken identity may not be the only one in conjunction with Wednesday's raids.

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