Friday, October 10, 2008

ICE speaks on Port Isabel case (KGBT-TX)

ICE speaks on Port Isabel case

By Jackie Diaz
Friday, October 10, 2008 at 8:02 a.m.

Port Isabel resident Olga Savage called the Action 4 Newsroom frantic and scared two weeks ago.

She claims U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents came into her home fully dressed in bullet proof vests, armed with guns and allegedly grenades thinking she was an illegal citizen.

"They told me to show them my papers and I did," Olga Savage said in Spanish.

She said agents were shocked when she was able to prove she is a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

Savage told Action 4 News that she's lived in the Rio Grande Valley legally for several years and has never had any problems with the law.

A still emotional Savage said she doesn't understand why they stormed her home.

"Why did they have to come in like they were going to war,” she asked in Spanish.

Soon after her story aired, ICE contacted Action 4 News to tell their side of the story.

Adrian Ramirez is director for the agency's field office in San Antonio.

He flew to the Valley to speak out on what they call "erroneous" claims being made by Savage.

"Our procedure is to have her sign a form that says she consents in which she did," Ramirez said. "We did all this before entering the house."

Action 4 News formally requested a copy of the consent form but were told a reporter could only view the document and not get video of it.

Ramirez stresses that ICE never stormed her home and did not enter it without permission.

Savage still claims she never signed any document.

She only received a case number that was allegedly written on the back of a receipt.

Ramirez tells Action 4 News that agents didn't use force nor did they have grenades as Savage first claimed.

"Our officers do not go in guns drawn...our officers do not carry grenades," Ramirez said. "There are no grenades in immigration and customs enforcement."

Ramirez said agents went to Savage's home because she has two alien registration numbers.

One that states she is a naturalized U.S. citizen since 1991. The other reads that she is a fugitive.

"In my 20 years Of doing this, I’ve never seen this happen,” said Ramirez.

He assures Action 4 News that ICE did not create those two files.

But Ramirez added that since our story aired an investigation has been launched into how two different federal documents show two different residential status for Savage.

"I can't get into those actions because there is an investigation into what happened,” Ramirez said.

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