Thursday, May 6, 2010

Arpaio's deputies arrest 24 at Phoenix business in ID-theft case (Arizona Republic)

Arpaio's deputies arrest 24 at Phoenix business in ID-theft case

by Jolie McCullough - May. 6, 2010 12:54 PM
The Arizona Republic

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies arrested 24 people at a work-site raid at a business park in west Phoenix.

The deputies began their search for 35 people who are suspected of identity theft at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the business near 48th Avenue and Van Buren Street. They remained on site throughout the morning searching two of the company's buildings, an office and a warehouse.

Arpaio said all of the employees were lined up inside the building and being asked for their identification.

Most of the people arrested were suspected of using false identification, Arpaio said. At least one person, however, was expected to be turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The business, Laser Masters, sells printer cartridges and toner.

Relatives of those who worked at the company stood outside of the building. Josefina Almanzar, who saw her husband Michael, 30, enter the sheriff's arrest bus in handcuffs, began to scream and cry.

Almanzar said she was in the country legally, but would not comment on her husband's status. "They're just here to work," Almanzar said. "They're not here to steal."

Almanzar said she was worried that her whole family might have to move, but she is hopeful that her husband will not be deported. She said he has worked at the company for a while recycling cartridges.

Almanzar's mother and friend tried to comfort her as she cried and yelled at the sheriff, calling him a coward. Her mother, Rosa Valencia, said her nephew worked in the building as well.

This was the Sheriff's Office's 32nd investigation into workplaces, Arpaio said. It began after a tip came into Arpaio's immigration hotline about 6 months ago.

Deputies remained on the site throughout the morning, and more arrests were expected. Deputies were searching two of the company's buildings, an office and a warehouse.

The last 31 investigations resulted in the arrest of 362 illegal immigrants, the Sheriff's Office said. Of those, 231 were suspected of identity theft.

Jail adds 100-plus prisoners this week after ICE bust (Middletown Journal)

Jail adds 100-plus prisoners this week after ICE bust

By Lauren Pack, Staff Writer
10:57 PM Thursday, May 6, 2010

HAMILTON — Butler County law enforcement played a role in the arrest this week of more than 130 illegal immigrants and fugitives, but only as support and a detention locations.

Officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday, May 4, they arrested 137 foreign-born criminals and fugitives in central and southern Ohio during a four-day period ending late Monday in an operation targeting criminals and fugitives in violation of immigration laws. According to ICE officials, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati metro areas — 53 in the Cincinnati metro area, which includes Butler County, 77 in the Columbus area and six in the Dayton metro area.

The federal prisoners are housed in the Butler County Jail, which is the sheriff’s office role in the operation, according to Khaalid Walls, spokesman for the ICE Office of Michigan and Ohio.

Hamilton police was included in list of participating agencies in an ICE news release, but Hamilton police Chief Neil Ferdelman said Wednesday his force did not participate in the operation. “I was surprised to read it myself in the paper,” Ferdelman said
Walls said all the police agencies where arrests were made were included in the release as a “courtesy” but Hamilton police did not play an active role. Arrests were made in the city, but Walls did not know how many.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said his department routinely houses ICE and other federal prisoners because of its 287 G status, which allows local authorities to assist in enforcing federal immigration laws after receiving special training.

“I will say we are pretty full at the jail right now,” Jones said.

The ICE prisoners likely will stay in Butler County awhile because the video systems permit them to be arraigned via camera throughout the country, Jones said.

All 137 arrested were either fugitives, re-entered after previous deportations, or have been convicted of other crimes in the U.S., according to ICE. Because of their serious criminal histories and prior immigration arrest records, at least 25 of those arrested during the enforcement surge face federal prosecution, ICE officials said.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Illegal Immigrant Arrested for Identity Theft (KSAZ-AZ)

Illegal Immigrant Arrested for Identity Theft
Published : Monday, 03 May 2010, 3:56 PM MDT

PRESCOTT - A 44-year-old man who authorities say was in the U.S. illegally has been arrested for taking another person's identity and using a stolen social security number.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office says that Raymund Corral was caught using the social security number of a 23-year-old Prescott man to gain employment at a concrete company in Mesa.

Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Bureau interviewed the 23-year-old last month and verified his social security number. They then conducted a record check and noticed that another individual was using the victims SSN.

Detectives went out to the Whitton Concrete/Plumbing Company in Mesa to contact Corral. He was arrested for taking the identity of another and booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center.

Corral remains jailed without bond. Authorities say he admitted to being in the country illegally and using the stolen SSN.

Feds: Home invaders may have been called in by caretaker (The Monitor)

Feds: Home invaders may have been called in by caretaker
May 03, 2010 8:15 PM
Jeremy Roebuck
The Monitor

ALAMO — When sheriff’s deputies first arrived at a mobile home north of the city Saturday afternoon, they thought they had a possible home invasion case on their hands.

But by the end of the night, federal investigators concluded the home’s caretaker may have called in the attackers himself.

Jose Ines Palmillas Cervantes’ neighbors called authorities to the house near the corner of Farm-to-Market Road 907 and Michigan Street, after eight to 10 masked gunmen burst into the residence just after 2 p.m. But when deputies arrived they found none of the attackers and five undocumented immigrants hiding inside.

The migrants — from countries including Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia — told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents that Palmillas, 27, had smuggled them into the United States days earlier but was keeping them at the trailer home against their will in an attempt to extort more money from their families, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.

When the group banded together and refused to pay the additional smuggling fees, Palmillas hired a group of men to break into the stash house, beat them and make it look like a home invasion, the immigrants purportedly told ICE agents.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe TreviƱo said Monday that his investigators came to a different conclusion after surveying Saturday’s scene. They determined that the break-in came at the hands of a rival smuggling group hoping to steal Palmillas’ immigrants for their own organization.

None of the home invaders have yet been located.

Deputies arrested Palmillas fleeing from the house Saturday afternoon, the sheriff said. He remains in federal custody on immigrant smuggling charges.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

93 arrested so far in Arpaio's latest sweep (AP c/o KSWT-AZ)

93 arrested so far in Arpaio's latest sweep
Associated Press - April 30, 2010 4:54 PM ET

PHOENIX (AP) - Two-thirds of the 93 people arrested during the first day of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's latest crime and immigration sweep were believed to be illegal immigrants.

The 2-day sweep is being run in an area of west Phoenix with a high number of "drop houses" where smugglers hide immigrants who have been sneaked into the country.

It's the 15th sweep that Arpaio has conducted since early 2008.

During the sweeps, deputies flood an area of a city - in some cases heavily Latino areas - to seek out traffic violators and arrest other alleged lawbreakers.

Critics say deputies racially profile Hispanics during the patrols. Arpaio says his deputies approach people only when they have probable cause to believe people had committed crimes.

Community Watch - ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT (Mohave Daily News)

Community Watch [12th item]

By The Daily News staff
Published: Friday, April 30, 2010 1:16 AM MDT

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT, KINGMAN — Mohave County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Melendez Castro, 30, of Kingman, on Tuesday evening. Approximately 8 p.m., deputies contacted Castro during a traffic stop in the area of Andy Devine Avenue and Second Street. With the assistance of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Castro was determined to be an illegal immigrant. Castro was taken into custody without incident. Castro was transported to the Mohave County Jail where ICE will later take him into custody.

Carbondale immigrant becomes symbol in growing national debate (Sky-Hi Daily News)

Carbondale immigrant becomes symbol in growing national debate
Reform activist released after ICE arrest on Wednesday
John Stroud
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — An outspoken local advocate for immigration reform became a poster child in the growing national debate Thursday, after he was detained by federal immigration officials and threatened with deportation to Mexico, only to be released in Denver as friends and family rallied for his cause back home.

“I'm really proud of all of you, and thanks from the bottom of my heart,” Carbondale resident Edgar Niebla said over a speaker phone held up by his sister during the rally outside the Garfield County Courthouse building.

“They didn't know who they were getting into this with,” he said shortly after his release from the Aurora GEO detention center around 6 p.m. Thursday, one day after he was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials at his home in Blue Lake early Wednesday morning.

“We must keep on fighting and struggling, and I'm ready to do that,” he said. “I'm not going to stop, and I hope they don't get in my way again.”

The hastily organized rally and candlelight vigil in Glenwood was intended to call attention to Niebla's case and to try to halt his deportation.

Before the rally even started, Niebla had been given a temporary release and stay of deportation as he seeks to obtain legal citizenship, as his two sisters and mother were granted eight years ago.

Because of a legal glitch with his paperwork, his citizenship was denied along with his father's, and has been on appeal ever since.

Earlier this year, Niebla received his deportation order to return to Mexico, a country to which the 27-year-old hasn't been in 20 years and has no direct ties.

Preparing to be put on a bus for Mexico this morning, Niebla said his release was just as surprising as his arrest two days ago.

“Now, I'm outside on the street in Aurora getting ready to do a press conference,” he said of his case, which rapidly gained state and national media attention.

“I've never seen a reaction to a case like I've seen with this one,” said Brendan Greene, a regional organizer for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC).

“Edgar is the poster child for national immigration reform,” Greene said. “He's well-known and respected throughout the valley, and even the whole state. He's a church youth group leader and has been working to become a police officer.

“He's one of the millions of people in this country who would qualify for citizenship as a dream acter,” he said of a proposed federal provision that would allow immigrants who entered the United States before they were 16 to have a path to citizenship.

“His case just exemplifies the flawed application process, and how one little mistake can have him deported to a country he doesn't even know,” Greene said.

Niebla came to the Roaring Fork Valley from Mexico with his family when he was 7, and attended and graduated from Basalt schools. He recently completed his law enforcement training at the Colorado Mountain College police academy.

“Since he was 13 or 14, he's wanted to become a police officer, because he knew that was how he would really be able to give back to his community,” his sister, Alba Sherman Niebla, said at the Thursday evening rally.

“We were still in the process of appealing when they came yesterday to his house and took him away,” she said. “This shouldn't happen. We're not just here tonight for one, we're here for the millions of people in Edgar's situation. His release is just a small victory, and we cannot give up the fight.”

His own situation has led Niebla to organize for immigration reform locally, statewide and even nationally. He was on the bus to recent rallies in Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas in support of immigration reform legislation currently before Congress.

“I came here with a combination of being very sad and being angry at the same time,” CMC police academy instructor John Goodwin said at the rally. “I had no idea until I got here that he'd been released.

“This is about a system that makes no sense at all,” Goodwin said of the need for reform. “Edgar is a good student who became a good friend. To send him to Mexico would be like sending him to the moon. He's not from Mexico, he's an American.”

Added Kevin Brun, the CMC police academy director who also attended the rally, “I feel ashamed of the United States government for what they've done to my friend, and I will do whatever I can to help him.”

Last night in Denver, students who were planning walkouts today denouncing Arizona's new immigration law SB1070, also gathered to celebrate Niebla's temporary release, according to CIRC.

“We hope Edgar's struggle will help lead to the passage of just and humane comprehensive immigration reform in 2010 to prevent further deportations and family separations,” CIRC Executive Director Julien Ross said. “This only highlights the urgent need for federal comprehensive immigration reform.”

Lawyers for detained refugee in Mass. file lawsuit (Worcester Telegram & Gazette)

Lawyers for detained refugee in Mass. file lawsuit

The Associated Press
Friday, April 30, 2010

BOSTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is seeking the release a 27-year-old man from Sri Lanka who was granted asylum in the United States more than a year ago, but continues to be detained by U.S. immigration authorities.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has violated Baskaran Balasundaram's civil rights and U.S. immigration law by letting him languish in jail while the agency appeals his asylum case, his attorneys said in a lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Boston. The department believes he provided material support to terrorists while being held captive by them.

Balasundaram's attorneys said the farmer from Sri Lanka was captured at gunpoint and taken to a Tamil Tiger training camp and later escaped, only to be tortured by the Sri Lankan government, who demanded information about the Tigers.

"If you look at the facts of this case, there's just no way this guy was a terrorist," said Laura Rotolo, staff attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts. "The government has never alleged that he was part of the Tamil Tigers or that he agrees with their views. They just say, 'Look, the law has to be read very strictly. You can't get asylum because you were in that training camp.'"

Named in the lawsuit are Bruce Chadbourne, director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Detention and Removal in Boston, and Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral.

A spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency couldn't comment on matters concerning national security.

Cabral's office referred calls to federal authorities.

The Tamil Tigers have been designated as a terrorist organization in the U.S., and they are responsible for major human rights abuses around the world, according to federal officials.