Friday, June 13, 2008

Immigrants arrested in federal raid (Tallahassee Democrat)

Immigrants arrested in federal raid
24 in custody of ICE after sweep of local restaurants

By Nic Corbett • DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER • June 13, 2008

A Tallahassee business owner says four of her establishments were targeted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents Wednesday, an operation that resulted in the arrest of 24 illegal immigrants.

Those arrested were employees at four of Rosie Cabrera's businesses: El Mercadito Mexican Store on West Tennessee Street, Los Compadres restaurant on North Monroe Street, the Los Amigos restaurant in Woodville and the Los Amigos restaurant on Capital Circle Northeast, said her lawyer, James Countess.

Countess is a criminal defense lawyer but he said he doesn't anticipate criminal charges in this case.

"When (ICE agents) find illegals they remove them, so it's not necessarily a criminal matter. It's generally more of a civil matter," he said.

Countess said Thursday he has only had a brief conversation with Cabrera.

The immigrants, arrested at "a local area restaurant" after a search warrant was served there, are in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and will be placed in administrative removal proceedings, agency spokeswoman Nicole Navas said. She would not name the restaurant.

They will have the opportunity to present the facts of their case to an immigration judge, she said.

The immigrants, from Mexico and Guatemala, were arrested as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Navas said seven other people were released for humanitarian reasons, but she would not elaborate.

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