Friday, July 30, 2010

Incoming KU student faces deportation after arrest (Lawrence Journal-World & News)

Incoming KU student faces deportation after arrest
By Shaun Hittle
July 29, 2010

Ricardo Quinones has spent all but the first six months of his life in the United States.

“This is my home. This is my country,” said Quinones, 20, an incoming Kansas University transfer from Kansas City, Mo., who plans to study psychology.

But a recent arrest at a protest in Washington, D.C., might get Quinones – an illegal immigrant – deported back to Mexico.

Quinones, along with two other Kansas City-area students traveled to Washington last week and participated in a protest supporting the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act, which outlines a six-year path to citizenship for immigrant students like Quinones. To qualify, immigrants must have been in the U.S. for five years, have entered the country before age 16, and be enrolled in college or the military.

Quinones’ chances of deportation were greatly increased when he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct while joining 20 other students from across the United States – including 18-year-old Shawnee Mission West High School graduate Diana Martinez – in a Capital Hill protest.

Quinones said he decided to participate and risk deportation because he deserves the chance to work legally in the U.S. when he graduates from KU. Starting a career will be nearly impossible because of his citizenship status.

Quinones, who will commute to KU after attending Johnson Community College for two years, couldn’t go to a public university in his home state of Missouri because of a state law requiring proof of citizenship, but KU allows students to enroll regardless of citizen status. However, Quinones cannot receive student loans or federal grants to help cover tuition, and he works construction in the summer to save money for the out-of-state tuition he’ll pay in the fall.

His hard work and dedication to his studies is just one example of why other Americans should support the DREAM Act, said Erin Fleming, a KU law student and immigrant rights advocate who helped organize the protest last week.

“Because these are the children of immigrants. Because they had no say. Because they’re students,” she said. “They’re a benefit to our society.”

Quinones family might not even be in the U.S. if it weren’t for an illness he had at birth. Doctors in Mexico couldn’t diagnose why the infant wouldn’t eat, and his parents were told he would die without better treatment. His mom was a school teacher in Mexico, and his dad was only one year from a degree in engineering, but they came to the U.S. looking for a cure for their son.

“My parents came here just for me,” he said. “My dad tells me, ‘I’d rather risk coming here than risk losing you.’”

Within a week, he was diagnosed with easily treatable lactose intolerance.

DREAM Act support, deportation?

Fleming said the DREAM Act has received strong congressional support, but advocates are urging the Senate to act on the bill, which remains shelved in the Judiciary Committee. The legislation was first introduced in 2001, and was defeated in a 52-44 Senate 2007 vote.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., is a co-sponsor of the current bill, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., voted for the 2007 legislation. Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, both R-Kan., did not respond to calls asking for their position on the DREAM Act.

At this point, Quinones said there’s no way to know if the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will proceed with deportation, and it remains a prominent concern for him and his family as he gets ready to start at KU.

“That’s on my mind like every day, because at any point I could get deported,” he said.

But, he doesn’t regret his decision, even if he’s sent back to Mexico.

“It would be” worth deportation, he said. “I’m tired of living like this, I want some change.”

Man sentenced for illegally re-entering the US (AP c/o The Sun Herald)

Man sentenced for illegally re-entering the US
The Associated Press
Friday, Jul. 30, 2010

GULFPORT, Miss. -- A deported man who admitted wading across the Rio Grande to illegally re-enter the United States has been sentenced to eight months in a federal prison.

The Sun Herald reports that District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. sentenced 28-year-old Yudary Uriel Castillo-Chapa on Wednesday. A year's probation follows the prison term.

Castillo-Chapa, of Reynosa, Mexico, was deported from the U.S. in May 2005 and banned from re-entering the country for five years. Four years later he crossed the Rio Grande near McAllen, Texas, according to his recent interview with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

He was arrested March 1 in a traffic stop on Interstate 10 in Gulfport.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Suspected illegal immigrant pleads not guilty (Niagara Gazette)

Suspected illegal immigrant pleads not guilty
Man being held after Sunday morning incident

July 28, 2010
By Mark Scheer
Niagara Gazette

NIAGARA FALLS — A man suspected of being an illegal immigrant pleaded not guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct Tuesday night in Newfane Town Court.

Meanwhile, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office is receiving complaint calls that law enforcement officials are not doing enough with his case.

Sebastian Martinez-Perez, 28, no known address, was charged by deputies early Sunday morning after witnesses reported him recklessly driving.

Deputies said they found Martinez-Perez standing in a ditch on the passenger side of his vehicle. Martinez-Perez reportedly became uncooperative with deputies.

He was taken to the Niagara County Jail in lieu of $100 bail.

“At this date and time, Mr. Perez is still in our facility with a detainer on him at bail set at $100,” Chief Deputy Steve Preisch said Monday.

Preisch said many complaints have come into the sheriff’s office regarding the “relatively low bail.” He said those who called are concerned the defendant is illegally in the state and that law enforcement is not doing all it should.

“He was only charged with disorderly conduct, a violation. The most bail we can set is at $100,” Preisch said.

Preisch said the Border Patrol has been notified.

“When we encounter someone we think may be here illegally, we call the Border Control ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” Preisch said. “(The sheriff’s office) has limited resources in this kind of situation, so we contact the specialists to help handle this kind of thing.”

If and when Martinez-Perez is released, the case will be solely handled by Border Patrol, Preisch said.

Niagara County Border Patrol could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Martinez-Perez is scheduled to meet Wednesday with town prosecutor James Sansone in Newfane Town Court.

On Wednesday, Sheriff James R. Voutour met with local Border Patrol officials to work on a new program at the department called Project Safe Neighborhood.

Preisch said the project is in its “infancy stages,” but the department hopes to participate in the program.

Man and Illegal Immigrant Flee from Police in Otsego County (9 & 10 News)

Man and Illegal Immigrant Flee from Police in Otsego County
Posted: 7/27/2010

A man is in the Otsego County jail accused of leading police on a chase and harboring an illegal immigrant.

It all started around 4:30 Monday afternoon when deputies tried stopping a speeding car on M-32. The driver led police into a storage unit parking lot and then a wooded area on private property. The car finally stopped due to damage it received during the chase.

Police say both men are not from the county. The driver was taken to jail, the other man was turned over to customs.

Gay Illegal Immigrant Seeks Asylum with Deportation to Iran Pending (ABC News)

Gay Illegal Immigrant Seeks Asylum with Deportation to Iran Pending
Mohammed Abdollahi's Case Highlights Complexity of Asylum Petition Process

July 27, 2010

By the time Mohammad Abdollahi figured out he had been living in the United States illegally for more than a decade, he also knew that his personal safety would depend on being able to stay in the country he calls home.

Abdollahi, a 24 year-old Iranian who was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, came to the U.S. as a child when his parents immigrated to study at a state university. He says he learned of his undocumented status in high school, which is also when he first began identifying as a gay man.

"It wasn't until I was 17, 18 that I began connecting the dots," he said of his situation. "I grew up in a very Muslim family. I didn't know what 'gay' meant. ... I didn't understand the gap."

Abdollahi is now facing that "gap" head on, with the looming prospect of deportation to Iran where homosexuality is a capital crime. He was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities after a protest in May, and his removal proceedings are scheduled to commence later this summer.

"It's not something I can imagine," he said of the thought of returning to Iran. "It would be a very scary thing because I haven't hidden my sexuality in talking with friends or the media."

Illegal immigrant apprehended (Pascack Valley Community Life)

Illegal immigrant apprehended
Thursday, July 29, 2010

A routine traffic stop conducted by Hillsdale police last week resulted in the apprehension of a 34-year-old Brazilian man illegally residing in the United States who had been sought by federal authorities for more than four years, police said.

Hillsdale Police Officer Brian McKeever was patrolling along Hillsdale Avenue Wednesday, July 21 at 8:30 a.m. when he spotted a van, in which the driver and its two passengers were not wearing seatbelts, said Officer Jeff Angermeyer, the department’s spokesman.

The officer quickly initiated a traffic stop of the work van and obtained identification from its three occupants, he said. But during the course of conducting standard computer checks of their identities, McKeever discovered one of the passengers, Gilberto Cassimiro-Ferreira, who was residing in Newark, was the subject of an outstanding warrant issued by the U.S. Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Angermeyer said.

Officer Frank Novakowski arrived on the scene as back-up, and together the two officers transported Cassimiro-Ferreira to the Hillsdale Police Department without incident. Later that morning, he was turned over to the custody of ICE agents, Angermeyer said.

"It was determined that Cassimiro-Ferreira was already deported once before, but re-entered the United States illegally. Subsequent to his presence back on U.S. soil, which is believed to be sometime in 2006, ICE began to work at apprehending him and sending him back to Brazil again," Angermeyer said. "He seemed to disappear for a time and this warrant was the result of a deportation hearing, clearly authorizing his removal from the United States. When he turned up during this routine traffic stop, ICE was finally able to catch up with Cassimiro-Ferreira, whereupon he’ll now face penalties for illegal re-entry."

"I think moments like these are great examples of how our police officers make a difference in the safety of the community here in Hillsdale and even in ways beyond Hillsdale, elsewhere across Bergen County and across New Jersey," Hillsdale Police Chief Chip Stalter said.

Arrested immigrant's visa expires while in jail (News14-NC)

Arrested immigrant's visa expires while in jail
By: Aaron Mesmer
8:26 AM 7/29/2010

CHARLOTTE — An immigrant who admits to committing credit card fraud is worried the crime will land him in more trouble than he imagined.

Ronald Bekema, a Netherlands native, said his visa expired while he was in jail and now he is concerned he will face more charges because he is in the country illegally and can't fix the problem.

Bekema was in the United States simply to play soccer and try out for the Charlotte Eagles. While in the Queen City, he lived with a player on the team and committed credit card fraud by using his teammate's card to book his plane ticket home.

“The ticket that I booked to go back to Europe was booked with a stolen credit card,” said Bekema.

While in jail, waiting for his bond hearing, his already extended visa expired.

He has a hearing scheduled for Thursday for credit card fraud. After that, he plans on turning himself in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But ICE officials said that if a crime is committed, it does not matter if the visa is expired.

“Clearly the agreement is that you're going to comply by the terms of your visa and that you're not going to break our laws,” said Barbara Gonzalez, of ICE.

Bekema will likely be deported after the fraud case wraps up.

87 immigrants arrested in Va., DC (Washington Post)

87 immigrants arrested in Va., DC
-- Paul Duggan
July 28, 2010; 3:03 PM ET

Federal authorities arrested 87 foreign nationals in two "targeted enforcement surges" in the Washington area in recent weeks, rounding up men and women from more than 19 countries who allegedly committed crimes after entering the United States, officials said Wednesday.

Twelve of the foreign nationals were considered "immigration fugitives," meaning they already had been ordered to leave the United States but had failed to do so, said Cori Bassett, a spokeswoman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

She said the other 75 were in the country under "a variety of immigration statuses," but either were convicted of crimes or have charges pending against them. They face losing their immigration status and being forced to leave the United States because of criminal wrongdoing, Bassett said.

Bassett stressed that the two enforcement actions, carried out this month and last, were "targeted" at people already under investigation by ICE and did not involve random sweeps of places where immigrants congregate.

"A top priority for ICE is to locate and arrest convicted criminal aliens and ultimately remove them from our country in a safe and humane manner," Henry Lucero, head of ICE's enforcement operations in the Washington area, said in a statement. "Those who come to the United States to prey upon communities ... will be prosecuted for their crimes and ultimately returned to their home countries."

Of the 87 people detained, 85 were arrested in Virginia, including 57 in the Northern Virginia suburbs, ICE said. Their regions of origin include Latin America, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Africa. Some of them will be held in custody until the criminal cases against them have been resolved, then will face deportation proceedings, ICE said. Others will be immediately deported.

The operations that resulted in the arrest were separate from another ICE enforcement action this month that targeted immigrant gang members in Northern Virginia.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Illegal immigrants arrested in Amherst (Chronicle-Telegram)

Illegal immigrants arrested in Amherst
Filed by Chronicle-Telegram Staff July 27th, 2010

AMHERST — Four men who admitted to being illegal immigrants when police stopped the car they were riding in were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents Friday evening.

A car containing the four Hispanic men, whose ages ranged from 22 to 36, was pulled over on Cooper Foster Park Road about 8:20 p.m. when police noticed the vehi cle had a cracked windshield.

When police asked the driver for his license, the man produced a Mexican driver’s license. After that, the men admitted they were in the United States illegally, reports said.

The four were detained by police until U.S. Border Patrol agents from Sandusky took them into custody, according to Amherst police Lt. Joseph Kucirek.

The driver, Jose Carmen Ibarra-Vega was charged with an unsafe vehicle.

Kucirek said law enforcement agencies are seeing more instances of illegals being detained in this area.

“We’re not seeing a lot of it yet, but it is becoming more regular. This is getting to be a desirable area — the northern part of Ohio,” Kucirek said.

Kucirek was unsure if and when the men would face deportation hearings.

Calls to U.S. Border Patrol public affairs officials in the agency’s regional offices in Detroit were not returned Monday.

5 arrested in MCSO search of Phoenix business (ABC-15)

5 arrested in MCSO search of Phoenix business
Posted: 07/27/2010

By: Katrina Schaefer

PHOENIX - A search warrant was served at a Phoenix business Tuesday morning where detectives were looking for 25 people suspected of identity theft and fraud.

Lieutenant Brian Lee with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said the search was conducted at Valley View Building Services Inc. near 19th Street and University Drive.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said that detectives became aware of information through sources that the business was contracted to conduct the cleanup of newly constructed buildings at the U.S. Military’s Fort Huachuca base in Sierra Vista.

After a three month investigation, detectives reportedly believe there are as many as 25 suspects working at the business with false identification and are suspected of being in the country illegally.

“I have deep concerns that people who come into our country illegally have managed to gain access onto an active U.S. Military installation,” said Arpaio in a news release. “This cause for concern goes well beyond the argument that people are only committing the crime of wanting to work in this country.”

Five suspects were arrested during Tuesday morning’s search warrant.

Three of the five were apparently targets of the investigation.

A U.S. citizen was arrested for an outstanding warrant and one employee was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for being suspected of being in the country illegally, but was not a target of the investigation, according to MCSO.

Deputies are continuing their search for the remaining suspects at other off-site work locations and will reportedly continue their investigation of the business.

This investigation marks the 37th investigation where sheriff’s deputies have gone into business establishments and arrested over 400 employees. MCSO said of those employees arrested, 278 were suspected of identity theft, fraud, and were also illegal aliens.

Valley View Building Services Inc. posted this response on their website to the sheriff‘s office’s operation:

“Today was the first time we had received any notice that there were some problems. We support the detaining of the 4 people who were identified and using some one else’s identity and we also support the detaining of the 1 individual that has a misdemeanor warrant out for his arrest. These crimes are serious and need to be dealt with. We live in a country of laws. It is what keeps our country free.

Our company has always verified employment by checking and verifying required ID’s. Since the inception of E-Verify, we have strictly complied with its requirements and regulations. We comply with all relevant local, state and federal rules concerning employment issues. We complete the I9 form, we have been registered with E-Verify since January of 2008 and all of our employees are paid through a payroll service with all the proper withholdings deducted and paid to local, state and federal agencies. We have acted in good faith with respect to the employment eligibility of our workforce and take this matter very, very seriously.

At this time we urge all public and elected officials to step up and become statesmen instead of worrying about re-election or public opinion. We are dealing with real people and real problems that deserve to be handled respectfully and justly. If we error, let us err on the side of compassion, but let us do what is required of us both morally and constitutionally. Let us protect our country, while also realizing that we were all immigrants at one time. May we turn to our Father in Heaven for the divine and providential guidance that our country so desperately needs at this point. Let us all use this opportunity to make the tough decisions, to make our country great once again.”

Immigrant drowns on golf course near Palmview (The Monitor)

Immigrant drowns on golf course near Palmview
July 27, 2010 11:18 AM
Jared Taylor
The Monitor

NEAR PALMVIEW — A youth drowned early Monday morning after a group of illegal immigrants attempted to hide in a pond, authorities said.

U.S. Border Patrol agents tracked a group of about 20 illegal immigrants on the Martin Valley Ranch, 7400 W. Expressway 83, about 2 a.m. Monday, said local agency spokesman Joe Treviño.

The group apparently tried to hide in a manmade pond on a golf course, Treviño said. One person, a male believed to be a teenager, did not surface from the pond.

With the help of a Border Patrol helicopter patrolling the area, agents arrested 22 other immigrants in the area, including a man suspected of smuggling the group into the U.S.

"We’re not really clear as to why they might have been trying to avoid detection by getting in the water," Treviño said.

Agents called in the Mission Fire Department dive team to the pond, and a sonar examination revealed a body below the surface Monday morning.

The accidental death case was turned over to Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents continue to investigate the smuggling attempt.

An autopsy revealed the youth drowned in the pond, said Hidalgo County sheriff's Capt. John Montemayor.

The victim has not been positively identified by his family, but others arrested Monday told deputies his name and that he likely was from Guatemala, Montemayor said. Deputies are working with Guatemalan consular officials to locate the youth’s family.

A representative at Martin Valley Ranch said no one was available to comment Tuesday.

Seven arrested in cockfighting bust (News-Record)

Seven arrested in cockfighting bust
WEDNESDAY, JULY 28, 2010 (Updated 8:19 am)

(MCT) — Seven people, including two from High Point, face charges after authorities in Randolph County busted an alleged cockfighting operation over the weekend.

The Randolph County Sheriff's Office, Asheboro Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, the Randolph County Health Department and the Humane Society of the United States executed a search warrant Saturday at 7405 U.S. 64 West after receiving information about illegal cockfighting at that location.

When officers arrived, people started fleeing the scene. Some suspects were detained at the site, but two managed to get away. Officers arrested seven people at the scene and seized three firearms, one of which had been reported stolen, as well as an undisclosed amount of cash.

A large amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia was also located at the scene.

Humane Society representatives assisted Randolph County Animal Control with the documentation and transportation of roosters found at the scene. Deputies said 24 gaming roosters were seized, 21 of which were alive and three dead due to injuries sustained as a result of cockfighting.

In addition, Health Department workers seized 400 chickens which were found to be living in "deplorable conditions," according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies said all of the suspects were charged with cockfighting and cruelty to animals, both of which are felonies, and were booked into the Randolph County Jail under bonds ranging from $2,500 to $50,000. Some are also suspected illegal aliens and face deportation proceedings.

The suspects are:

• David Worth Gallimore, 49, 7405 U.S. 64 West, Asheboro, also charged with Felony Possession of Marijuana, possession with intent to sell or distribute marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Humberto Castro Mondragon, 50, 665 Painter Road, Asheboro, who also was given a detainer for deportation.

• Efrain Escobar Velasquez, 60, no permanent address, also was given a detainer for deportation.

• Cesar Augusto Cruz-Gonzalez, 35, 828 Burney Ave., Winston-Salem, also charged with carrying a concealed weapon and given a detainer for deportation.

• Gumesindo Vasquez Ferrer, 27, 10411 S. Main St., High Point, also was given a detainer for deportation.

• Isidro Valazquez Ferrer, 21, 1618 Kivett Drive, High Point, also was given a detainer for deportation.

• Alejandro Garcia Mariano, 27, 828 Burney Ave., Winston-Salem, also charged with possession of a stolen firearm and carrying a concealed weapon and was given a detainer for deportation.

Police nab illegal immigrant (Standard Speaker)

Police nab illegal immigrant
Published: July 28, 2010
- Tom Ragan

An alleged illegal immigrant was caught after Beaver Meadows' police chief said he stopped a driver for speeding and driving recklessly on Route 93 in the borough Monday.

Chief Michael Morresi said he made the stop at 1:30 p.m. after observing the driver almost hit a yield-to-pedestrian sign on Route 93. The car had a New York license plate.

Morresi asked for the driver's license; the driver handed over a passport dated 2001 which showed he was from Argentina. Only the passenger had a valid driver's license.

After finding no results in a police database search, Morresi called Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who suggested that Morresi take the driver, identified as 46-year-old Pablo Curatola of Argentina, to state police at Hazleton.

ICE agents conducted an interview with Curatola and learned he is in the United States illegally for nine years and was charged in the past for forging documents, Morresi said.

Beaver Meadows police cited Curatola for speeding and driving without a valid license. He was transported to the Lackawanna County prison for deportation back to Argentina by ICE agents. The Scranton facility is the closest one approved for deportation by ICE, Morresi said.

The owner of the vehicle that Curatola was driving was identified as Manuel Montesdeoca of Haverstraw, N.Y., Morresi said. Montesdeoca was cited for allowing Curatola to drive his vehicle without a valid driver's license.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Illegal alien arrested in Marion County (The Baxter Bulletin)

Illegal alien arrested in Marion County
JULY 7, 2010
-- From Marion County Sheriff's Office website

YELLVILLE — Jose Luis Chavez-Montalvo, 27, of Guadalajara, Mexico, was arrested on Friday on multiple traffic violations, according to a press release on Marion County Sheriff's Office website.

After further investigation, it was discovered that Montalvo has been residing in the United States illegally, possibly in Baxter County. Montalvo has been detained by the United States Immigrationand Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is in ICE custody, the press release said.

Since June 2009, four illegal aliens have been captured and deported from Marion County.

Illegal alien will return to feds (Shelbyville Times-Gazette)

Illegal alien will return to feds
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A man who returned to Shelbyville after being deported is headed back into federal custody, city police say.

Roberto Javilar Ramirez, 46, of Bethany Lane has pleaded guilty to violating the sex offender registry and was sentenced to time served -- around 120 days, according to Shelbyville Det. Sgt. Brian Crews.

But Ramirez will be returning to the Coffee County Jail to serve the remainder of his term for violating probation there, before being transferred to federal custody.

Crews explained that federal authorities had a warrant for Ramirez for illegal re-entry into the country.

Ramirez was arrested earlier this year for violating the registry after he returned to Bedford County following his deportation.

He had been convicted in Coffee County in October 2009 for aggravated statutory rape involving a 15-year-old girl and was deported in January after only serving three months of a four-year sentence.

However, Ramirez reappeared in Shelbyville in February and never reported to Bedford County authorities that he was living here, which is required by the sex offender law.

When police found Ramirez, he was living in a room at Budget Motel on Madison Street across the street from Casa Mexicana, where he is listed as a co-owner.

But the restaurant and motel are also a block away from a large day care center on Bethany Lane, which would have been a violation of sex offender registry.

Tennessee sexual offender records list a Roberto Ramirez Ramirez, also known as Roberto Ramirez Avila and Roberto Ramirez Ramirez-Avila, of a Manchester address and bearing the same birth date as the suspect as having registered with the state registry Dec. 21, 2009.

Illegal Immigrants Caught on a Yacht, in a Web of Maritime Laws (New York Times)

Illegal Immigrants Caught on a Yacht, in a Web of Maritime Laws
Published: July 27, 2010

Gaea Rich and her family were in full holiday mode aboard their yacht on the Fourth of July as they motored from Stamford, Conn., across Long Island Sound and into Oyster Bay, off the North Shore of Long Island.

The trip, with more than 15 relatives and friends, was supposed to be the high point of a weekend family reunion. But a few hours into the cruise, after what began as an apparently routine stop by a marine patrol of local and federal law enforcement officials, two passengers — a Guatemalan caterer hired for the day and Ms. Rich’s boyfriend, David Quinn, an Irishman who had worked for years as a horse-carriage driver in Central Park — were taken away on a police boat by federal immigration officials. Both men were illegal immigrants; they now face deportation.

The yacht had been caught in a web of laws, little known outside the maritime community, that are meant to keep a tight leash on vessels that are registered in foreign countries or have traveled in international waters. And the boarding and interrogations on a pleasure craft came as quite a surprise to passengers.

“We couldn’t believe it,” recalled Ms. Rich, 28, a fashion designer for Ralph Lauren. “Everyone was just shocked.”

The boat is registered in the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and owned by Ms. Rich’s uncle. He keeps the boat moored mostly in American waters: Stamford in the summer and Florida in the winter.

Many American yacht owners register their boats in foreign countries, often for tax purposes. That was her uncle’s reason, said Ms. Rich, adding that her uncle did not want to be interviewed or identified.

Federal maritime law requires that foreign-flagged vessels contact customs officials when they arrive at American ports, even if arriving from another American port. Immigration officials are permitted to board foreign-flagged vessels anytime, said Officer John F. Saleh, a spokesman for United States Customs and Border Protection. Coast Guard officials, who joined in the stop, are allowed to board any vessel at any time in American waters.

Maritime laws and their enforcement have tightened since 9/11. In the past several years, for example, the Coast Guard division on Staten Island — which patrols New York Harbor, the western half of Long Island Sound and the southern Hudson River — has stepped up its scrutiny of smaller foreign-flagged vessels, said Charles Rowe, a spokesman for the Coast Guard in New York City.

Mr. Rowe said that under the program, “Operation Small Fry,” Coast Guard officials, along with federal and local law enforcement personnel, have boarded about 750 such boats a year, to enforce customs, immigration and maritime laws.

Several marina managers in the New York area said they had heard complaints from exasperated owners and operators of foreign-flagged yachts about repeated boardings and laborious permit regulations.

It is frustrating for those with foreign flags, said the manager of a luxury marina in the Hamptons, who insisted on anonymity to avoid offending any of his clients. But, he added, “They really can’t complain because the reason they’re foreign-flagged is to avoid paying taxes.”

The owners and operators of the largest yachts are well acquainted with the rules and their enforcement, maritime experts said. “These guys are prepared for this stuff,” said Lucy Reed, editor of The Triton, a monthly magazine read largely by the captains and crews of private yachts. “They know what they need to have, for the most part, to cruise in U.S. waters.”

It was unclear whether Ms. Rich’s uncle had been aware of the rules.

The July 4 incident began about 1:30 p.m. when a boat operated by the Nassau County Police Department pulled alongside the 63-foot yacht as it entered Oyster Bay. On the police vessel were customs and Coast Guard officers, Officer Saleh said; he did not provide more details about the stop. The Nassau police said they were assisting Customs and Border Protection and referred all inquiries to that agency.

Ms. Rich said the officers seemed unfamiliar with the St. Vincent flag, “and wanted to see my uncle’s cruising license.” Immigration officials took one catering worker, a Hispanic woman, to a room below deck and interviewed her for about half an half before determining that she was in the United States legally, Ms. Rich said.

The officers then asked all the other passengers — some of them foreign citizens with green cards or work visas — for government-issued identification. When Mr. Quinn and the catering worker were unable to produce proof that they were in the country legally, the officers took them below deck, Ms. Rich said.

Mr. Quinn “came up after 20 to 30 minutes and he said, ‘I guess I’m going home,’ ” she recalled. “And I said, ‘You’re joking, right?’ ” Mr. Quinn’s expected deportation, Ms. Rich said, has severely complicated their budding relationship. The romance began in late March when Ms. Rich spotted Mr. Quinn, 30, tending his horse and carriage on Central Park South, near her office. She returned a few days later with a friend, and rented his carriage for a spin around the park.

“We were the last ride of the day, and invited him to come up to a bar after he’d finished stabling his horse,” she recalled. “It was a romantic night.”

Ms. Rich said she soon learned about Mr. Quinn’s immigration status. He had arrived in the United States in 2003, joining several siblings who had become American citizens, and overstayed his tourist visa.

Mr. Quinn’s brothers asked the Rev. Brian Jordan, a Franciscan priest and an immigrant advocate, to help with the case. Father Jordan said he was indignant that the two men had been detained, considering recent directives by Immigration and Customs Enforcement giving priority to the apprehension of criminals.

“This is New York State,” Father Jordan said, “This is not Arizona.”

Federal immigration officials would not comment on the case. On Thursday, after requests by his lawyer, Zachary Sanders, and lobbying of the Department of Homeland Security by Father Jordan, Mr. Quinn was released for 45 days to prepare for deportation to Ireland.

Mr. Quinn said in an interview on Monday that he was hoping to find a way to remain in the United States. If unsuccessful, he said, he would accept the deportation and try to return legally. “I’m doing the best that I can,” he said.

He said that he was held in the same detention center, in Elizabeth, N.J., as the catering worker, but that the worker was not granted a similar temporary reprieve. (Neither Mr. Quinn nor Ms. Rich knew the worker’s name.)

Mr. Quinn said that he had not considered trying to legalize his status through marriage, as some immigrants do.

“I was waiting for the right woman,” he said. “And this is what happened to me: a bit of bad luck. And I thought the Irish had the good luck.”

Illegal Immigrants Rescued From Turbulent Waters Near PDN Bridge (KFOX-TX)

Illegal Immigrants Rescued From Turbulent Waters Near PDN Bridge
Posted: 5:23 pm MDT July 27, 2010

Border Patrol agents jumped into action for two separate water rescues.

The first happened Monday afternoon near the Paso Del Norte Bridge.

Authorities said two people making an illegal entry jumped into the canal around 2 p.m. in hopes of fleeing Border Patrol.

Both jumped into the canal about half a mile east of the Paso Del Norte Bridge. Agents found one of the individuals struggling with the turbulent waters, unable to climb out and yelling for help. Authorities were able to rescue them from the canal. Several minutes later and nearly half a mile from where the rescue attempts began, the agents were pulled out the second individual out of the water.

A separate incident happened again Tuesday around 2 a.m. in the same area.

The El Paso Fire Department was called in to assist.

Authorities rescued 46-year-old Juan Chavez-Alvarez of Mexico. He refused medical help and was arrested for illegal entry, said Border Patrol officials. Record indicated he was a convicted aggravated felon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

24 Arrested In Smuggling Attempt (KXO Radio)

24 Arrested In Smuggling Attempt
Written by Carroll Buckley
Monday, 26 July 2010

Federal authorities arrested two alleged smugglers and the driver of a pick-up truck used to smuggle illegal aliens.
U.S. Border Patrol Agents assigned to the El Centro Sector attempted to stop a pick-up truck near Keystone and Highline Roads , southeast of Brawley , Ca .on Thursday. The truck fled the scene but was located later in a ditch off Gonder Road. Agents discovered 15 people concealed under a tarp in the bed of the truck. All 15 were determined to be in the U.S. illegally and were arrested. The driver of the truck had fled the scene but another individual who was a U.S. citizen was arrested at the scene. Agents obtained information that led them to the house where the alleged driver was hiding and Friday afternoon at about 1:30 , Border Patrol agents in conjunction with the Imperial Valley Border Enforcement Security Task Force ( IVBEST ) went to that location. During a search of the premises agents found the driver plus 7 additional illegal aliens , including one who was involved in the smuggling attempt. The U.S. citizen , the alleged driver asnd the smuggler arrested at the house are all being held pending charges for alien smuggling.

Alleged human smuggler blamed in King Ranch wreck (KGBT-TX)

Alleged human smuggler blamed in King Ranch wreck
by Rafael Carranza
Posted: 07.26.2010 at 9:40 AM

The driver of a Chevrolet is facing human trafficking charges after causing a wreck that snarled southbound traffic on Highway 77 in the King Ranch.

Texas Department of Public Safety state troopers said it all begin with a traffic stop on the northbound lanes of the highway.

The state troopers got out of his patrol unit and was walking to the Chevrolet when the driver took off.

The driver crossed the median into the southbound lanes where he collided with a vehicle.

Seven people were injured in the wreck with all of them transported to area hospitals.

The driver of the Chevrolet had several illegal immigrants inside his vehicle.

Investigators have not released the driver's name but said he will be facing evading arrest and human trafficking charges when released from the hospital.

Honduran sexual predator arrested by ICE (Media-Newswire)

Honduran sexual predator arrested by ICE

A Honduran national, who was convicted of statutory rape, was taken into custody on Wednesday in Memphis, Tenn., by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A Honduran national, who was convicted of statutory rape, was taken into custody on Wednesday in Memphis, Tenn., by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) Enforcement and Removal Operations ( ERO ) officers.

Selvin Omar Plata, 31, was arrested through ERO's Criminal Alien Program ( CAP ), which focuses on removing aliens who are incarcerated in local or state jails following convictions that make them a danger to national security or a risk to public safety. Based on his criminal conviction, Plata will be detained and processed for removal from the United States.

On or about Aug. 20, 2009, Plata was arrested for aggravated statutory rape in Memphis. On July 7, 2010, Plata pleaded guilty to statutory rape and was sentenced to one year in prison.

Plata illegally entered the United States near Brownsville, Texas, sometime in 2005. He is currently being held in ICE custody awaiting the outcome of his case.

"ICE will continue using its unique immigration authorities to identify and arrest those who present a threat to our community," said Philip Miller, field office director for ICE's Office of ERO in New Orleans. "Criminals in Tennessee should be on notice because we will find you and bring you to justice."

This CAP arrest was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,000 individuals.

Immigrant deaths soar in Arizona desert (The Militant)

Immigrant deaths soar in Arizona desert
The Militant
Vol. 74/No. 29 August 2, 2010

Just two days after reports that deaths of undocumented workers crossing the Arizona desert are soaring, Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano announced the U.S. government is stepping up immigration enforcement along the border.
Bruce Parks, the Pima County Medical Examiner, told the Associated Press July 16 that 40 bodies had been brought to his office since July 1 in the midst of a severe heat wave. Tighter measures at the U.S.-Mexico border have pushed immigrants without papers to attempt crossing in more remote, dangerous areas.

Last year, known deaths of immigrants along the entire U.S.-Mexico border rose to 422, the highest since 492 died in 2005.

In an op-ed piece in the Arizona Republic July 19 Napolitano said that starting August 1, additional National Guard troops would begin their border deployment. At the same time Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is opening a new office in Ajo, Arizona, and a Border Enforcement Security Task Force Jump Team will start working out of Douglas.

Homeland Security is also sending “mobile surveillance systems, thermal-imaging binocular units, and trucks equipped with detection scopes, as well as observation and utility aircraft” to the Tucson area, she said. Earlier in the week, Napolitano awarded $14 million in grants to help the Arizona government pay for its cop actions along the border.

The announcement of the stepped up measures was made on the eve of Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law taking effect.

While Napolitano says that ICE’s priority is going after “criminal aliens,” “felony fugitives,” and “gang members,” in a July 15 interview with Fox News she explained “we will proceed” against anyone “we come across” who is in the country without papers.

Sandra Punin, 22, is an example, of working people they “come across.” She was in a minor fender bender in Long Island, New York, June 14. The cop who wrote Punin a ticket arrested her after finding that she missed an appearance before an immigration judge in 2006, when she was 17. Punin was turned over to ICE and is now in an immigration jail facing deportation proceedings.

Houston flea market raided for fake IDs (UPI)

Houston flea market raided for fake IDs
Published: July 25, 2010 at 12:05 PM

HOUSTON, July 25 (UPI) -- Federal agents say they broke up a ring allegedly selling fake identification documents at a Houston flea market.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swooped down on the Sunny Flea Market Saturday and made 18 arrests, the agency told the Houston Chronicle.

The newspaper said Sunday that ICE was not revealing the types of identification allegedly being sold at the market, but said it was seeking suspects named in a series of warrants and not rounding up illegal immigrants in general.

Some shoppers were detained briefly. Lance Solano, an illegal immigrant, told the Chronicle he was released after agents checked his Mexican consular ID card.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Immigration Agents Arrest Truck Driver Who Killed Bicyclist (WUSA-VA)

Immigration Agents Arrest Truck Driver Who Killed Bicyclist

Written by Bruce Leshan
Friday, June 23, 2010

DUN LORING, Va. (WUSA) -- Federal agents have just arrested the alleged illegal immigrant who ran over and killed a bicyclist in near DuPont Circle.

Immigration officers picked up Marco Fuentes Flores almost two years after his truck crushed 22 year old Alice Swanson to death.

The arrest came just two days after 9News Now traveled to Northborough, Mass. to interview Swanson's mom for the first time about the garbage truck operator's long history of bad driving and drug smuggling.

We asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement how Marco Fuentes Flores, who had been convicted of smuggling drugs, done time in federal prison, been kicked out of the country, could be back in the country driving a garbage truck. A truck he was still driving two years after he ran over and killed Alice Swanson.

"I am relieved," said Ruth Rowan after we told her about Fuentes Flores arrest. "This person is dangerous and I kept thinking, how will I feel if I don't say something and he kills someone else."

Agents picked up Fuentes Flores at KMG Hauling in Sterling on Thursday, just after our first interview with the bicyclist's mom. "That news story gave us the information we needed to arrest this convicted criminal alien," said Henry Lucero, director of ICE's DC and Virginia Field Office for Enforcement and Removal.

How Fuentes Flores could still be working for the hauler given his immigration status and his driving record remains a mystery.

"I don't have anything against immigrants. But it seems it was the only way to get him off the road," says Alice Swanson's mother.

There is still a ghost bike painted all white in memory of Swanson where she died at 20th and R Sts. NW. What happened to her is so common, bicyclists have a phrase for it, "the dreaded right hook."

Police suggested Swanson somehow rode herself right into the truck. But several witnesses and independent experts say his front tire drove right over as he took a right turn right into her.

"He had five tickets in the two months before she died. He had another accident eight days before hitting Alice," says Rowan.

A lawyer for KMG Trucking declined to offer any explanation of why the Northern Virginia company continued to employ the driver despite his record. He would only say that the company cooperated with ICE when Fuentes Flores was arrested.

Immigration raids nab 22 in Magic Valley (The Spokesman-Review)

Immigration raids nab 22 in Magic Valley
Posted by Betsy at 3:38 p.m. on July 23, 2010

A federal immigration “enforcement surge” across the Magic Valley area has resulted in the arrest of 22 immigration violators, including two who now face federal charges in Idaho. One of those two had previously been deported four times, and also had been convicted of cocaine possession. Six of those arrested had criminal histories, from drug possession to theft to domestic violence. Fifteen, including those six, had previously been ordered deported. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “fugitive operations teams” based in Boise and Salt Lake City made arrests starting Tuesday in nine Idaho communities including Burley, Buhl, Castleford, Hailey, Jerome, Rupert, Shoshone, Twin Falls and Wendell. Most of those arrested were from Mexico; there also was one each from Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru and Russia.

ICE spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said the two “most egregious violators” will be charged in federal court in Idaho with illegal re-entry after deportation. The other 22 are in ICE custody, where they’ll either face an immigration judge or be deported. “ICE is committed to smart and effective immigration enforcement that targets individuals who pose a threat to public safety,” said Steven M. Branch, field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in Idaho. “ICE is committed to identifying those who come to the United States, commit crimes and blatantly disregard our nation’s laws.”

Detained Immigrants can now be located online (LA Times)

Detained immigrants can now be located online
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement launches a search service for relatives and attorneys trying to find people in a nationwide maze of prisons and jails.

By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
July 24, 2010

Responding to criticism of secrecy within the immigration detention system, federal officials launched an online service Friday to help relatives and attorneys find detainees in the sprawling networks of prisons and jails.

In the past, locating a relative was cumbersome, time-consuming and sometimes impossible, requiring numerous phone calls to detention centers around the nation.

The public, Internet-based tool is designed to fix that, said Phyllis Coven, acting director of detention policy and planning for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The locator can be found at

"This is about accountability and transparency," she said. "It is a project that has been needed for a long time."

Ahilan Arulanantham, who directs the immigrant rights and national security program for the ACLU of Southern California, said he was cautiously optimistic about the effort.

"We are hopeful, but our biggest concern is that the system is only good enough as the information that is put in it," he said. "We know that ICE does transfer people very quickly. It is up to them to ensure that the system continues to capture that information."

Around the nation, more than 250 jails, prisons and centers hold on average more than 30,000 immigration violators. Some are awaiting deportation while others are fighting their cases in court. Detainees are frequently transferred around the country.

Los Angeles immigration attorney Luis Ayala said the agency is "trying to alleviate the angst and anxiety" by telling families where their loved ones are being held. But Ayala said that the agency should keep individuals close to their families and lawyers.

"The fact that they are launching this is good, but the best remedy would be to not transfer them," he said.

The tool is part of a broader effort to transform the system from a prison-based model to one designed for civil detainees.

"The premise is making our detention centers less penal and more tailored to the purpose of our confinement, which is the purpose of removal," Coven said.

Following media reports and congressional hearings about inadequate healthcare and deaths in detention, ICE chief John Morton last summer announced a plan to overhaul the detention system.

Since then, among other changes, the agency has stopped detaining certain asylum seekers, conducted a review of its medical program and begun a pilot intake system to better decide who should be detained and where. Coven said the agency is also working on reducing transfers and improving access to counsel.

To find a detainee, the searcher must type in the person's country of origin and either their full name or alien registration number — a unique nine-digit number given to anyone who applies for immigration benefits or in deportation proceedings. With that information, the computer will show the detainee's location, along with contact and visiting information of the center and the local immigration enforcement office.

Coven said the agency is getting out the word about the program through community organizations, immigration field offices and the media. Brochures that explain how to use the system are available in nine languages, including Mandarin, Russian, Somali and Spanish.

Burlington chief: ID training for lawmen coming (Burlington Times News)

Burlington chief: ID training for lawmen coming
July 15, 2010 5:56 PM
Robert Boyer / Times-News

July 15--Burlington Police Chief Mike Williams apparently met recently with officials from the Sheriff's Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to discuss what constitutes valid and acceptable identification for drivers during traffic stops.

The meeting came several weeks after Heather Simpson, the daughter of Alamance County Republican Chairman Robert Simpson, witnessed a traffic stop involving a Burlington police officer and two Hispanic women on Trade Street near Fisher Street.

Simpson said Wednesday that she came upon the stop at 10:15 p.m. on May 2.

Simpson said she heard the driver and passenger tell the officer they had no driver's licenses as she waited on Trade Street north of Fisher Street for a traffic light to change. Simpson said her car was pointed south toward Fisher Street; and the women's car was pointed north and blocking the Trade Street entrance to the Allied Churches homeless shelter.

The light turned green, Simpson said, and she left the area before the traffic stop concluded.

Simpson told her father about the stop. Robert Simpson reported the information to Alamance County Commissioner Tim Sutton, who made inquiries with Burlington police and Burlington Mayor Ronnie Wall.

Sutton said Williams told him that the women had a Mexican identification card, and the officer was advised against allowing drivers to drive home without valid licenses.

On Wednesday, Sutton said Wall didn't get back with him, but Williams said local law enforcement needed to get together and sort out the issue.

City Manager Harold Owen confirmed Wednesday evening that the officer didn't cite the driver for driving without a license and allowed the women to drive home, but said he wasn't sure if the stop spurred Williams to seek a meeting with sheriff's and Customs Enforcement officials.

"As I recall from talking to Chief Williams, there just seemed to be some inconsistency in what actually was accepted ID," Owen said.

Sheriff's spokesman Randy Jones said he was out of town when the meeting took place and doesn't know which departments attended.

"I would assume ICE would have been involved in that, and our people I'm sure, but as far as who else, I don't know," he said.

Family Held, Robbed by Men Impersonating ICE (MyFOX Atlanta)

Family Held, Robbed by Men Impersonating ICE
Published : Thursday, 22 Jul 2010, 7:57 PM EDT

DULUTH, Ga. - Police say a man accused of impersonating an immigration official has been charged with armed robbery, among other crimes. Investigators say he's one of three men who approached a family in Duluth and insisted they were with immigration, and needed to inspect that family's apartment.

Authorities say they arrested Clem Williamson on Wednesday, but the other two suspects remain on the loose. According to police, the three approached the Hispanic family while they were walking home from the Kroger store on Steve Reynolds Boulevard about a week ago. The family told police they had no badges or ID indicating they were official, but once they got home to their apartment they realized the men did have a gun.

Once they were inside the family’s home, police say one man held the children and the three adults at bay with an automatic rifle while the other two ransacked their home. Police say the men stole more than $4,100 in cash.

Witnesses gave police a description of the black Chevy Tahoe the men were driving, and they were able to trace it to Williamson. Police say the victims believed the men were from immigration because of the car they were driving.

Williamson faces a variety of charges including armed robbery, cruelty to children and sexual battery. That’s because police say he grabbed a woman inappropriately during the incident, and hit her in the face when she tried to pull away.

Police say the other two suspects are still on the run, and Williamson has refused to cooperate with authorities. Investigators don’t have a good description of the other two suspects because the witnesses simply didn’t get a good look at them.

Officials want to remind the public that authentic authorities always have some form of ID with them and they often show it voluntarily. If they don’t, you have the right to ask to see it before you comply with their requests.

Victim in Violent Robbery String Arrested (NBC Philadelphia)

Victim in Violent Robbery String Arrested
Store owner arrested on immigration charges
Updated 9:31 PM EDT, Thu, Jul 22, 2010

Weeks after fighting off a gunman inside his Northeast Philadelphia store, a victim of a string of robberies has found himself behind bars.

Tian Chang Lin was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials earlier this week, officials say.

NBC Philadelphia told you about the plight of Lin and his family Wednesday after they endured a third hold up inside their store in as many months.

Lin's daughter Sharon said the family was living in fear after the series of robberies -- the most recent of which involved her mother on Saturday.

In broad daylight, the robbery suspect bursts into the Grace Dollar Store located along the 6900 block of Buselton Avenue, brandishes a gun and demands money. He's made off with $600 cash so far, police say.

"We’re still worrying are they going to come again. We can’t do anything about it," Sharon said.

The timing of Tian Lin's arrest was circumspect for some after Mayor Nutter announced last Friday Philadelphia Police would no longer report the names of victims of crimes to ICE.

ICE officials describe Lin as a "fugitive illegal alien" who has been wanted since April 2010.

ICE official Mark Medvesky says Lin was scheduled to be arrested on July 13 and wasn't picked up until this week. He said Philadelphia Police played no role in the arrest.

The robber is still on the loose. Anyone who may recognize the man is asked to call Philadelphia Police at 215.686.3153.

Man may be deported after assault on his wife (The Police News)

Man may be deported after assault on his wife
The Police News - Galveston
July 22, 2010

GALVESTON - A man arrested for assaulting his wife in one of the many family disturbances that happen everyday in Galveston and elsewhere, may be headed back to wherever he came from.

Police arrested 31-year old Daniel Ponce Perez at the apartments at 3226 Avenue O and charged him with Assault Causing Bodily Injury in an attack on his wife. He is also being held in jail for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities.

Perez has been working in a Mexican restaurant on Broadway.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Murder trial's key witness deported (Columbus Dispatch)

Murder trial's key witness deported
Prosecutor says he wasn't notified; suspect is freed

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 03:52 AM


Franklin County prosecutors have dropped an aggravated-murder charge against an East Side man because the key witness against him was deported to Mexico.

Homeland Security officials deported the witness without notifying the prosecutor's office, Prosecutor Ron O'Brien wrote in asking a Common Pleas Court judge to dismiss the case.

Jaime C. Gallegos, 20, of Stelzer Road, was released from the Franklin County jail Monday night after charges of aggravated murder and tampering with evidence were dropped.

He was one of two defendants indicted in the Christmas Eve shooting death of Miguel Martinez-Vargas, 22, whose bullet-riddled body was found in a car outside the El Gato Negro bar, 1024 Shady Lane Rd., on the East Side.

The case against the other defendant, Juan Mercado-Villanueva, 20, of Raphael Drive, was not affected by the deportation, O'Brien said yesterday. A different witness is available in that case.

But prosecutors couldn't prove their case against Gallegos without the testimony of Daniel Mercado, who was deported April 13, O'Brien said.

"The local Homeland Security office had been specifically advised by the gang-unit prosecutors assigned to this case that Mercado was the key witness in this case and had been assured that no action would be taken to deport Mercado without notice to the prosecutor's office," O'Brien wrote to the court.

"Nevertheless, at the last trial date, the assigned prosecutors learned Mercado had been deported to Mexico. Efforts by the prosecution to locate Mercado in Mexico and to temporarily return him to the United States to testify have been unsuccessful."

Homeland Security officials did not immediately respond to a series of e-mail questions about the decision.

Mercado, 25, was an illegal immigrant who failed to show up for sentencing after he was convicted in Franklin County Common Pleas Court of carrying a concealed weapon in December 2006. He was arrested on a warrant in the case during the investigation of the Martinez-Vargas slaying.

By the time of his arrest, Mercado was cooperating with investigators in the homicide case and was released on a recognizance bond. Prosecutors later learned that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents picked up Mercado as he left the jail April1, O'Brien said.

Mercado was at the scene of the Martinez-Vargas shooting and was involved in the incident but was not the triggerman, he said.

When prosecutors sought a continuance in the case against Gallegos in May, his attorney filed an objection, saying that "the state failed to do the most elementary due diligence in securing a witness for trial."

Joy Marshall wrote that prosecutors failed to subpoena Mercado, should have known he was unlikely to be available for trial and should have charged him in the homicide.

O'Brien said yesterday that a subpoena was unnecessary because Mercado was a cooperating witness.

"He was working with us from Day One. His lawyer produced him for us on more than one occasion. He helped solve the case."

O'Brien said Mercado eventually would have been charged "with something" related to the killing in a negotiated plea agreement.

This isn't the first time that prosecutors have communicated with local Homeland Security officials about cases that were lost or weakened by the deportation of witnesses, he said.

"As you can see, that communication was not successful in preventing the deportation of a key witness in this homicide case, nor have we been advised of an effective method to prevent this in the future."

Border Patrol rescues 6 undocumented immigrants (KGUN-AZ)

Border Patrol rescues 6 undocumented immigrants
Posted: Jul 19, 2010 10:24 PM
Reporter: Sheryl Kornman

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Border Patrol agents rescued six people over the weekend who were found in the southern Arizona desert "in distress," according to a media release from the federal agency's Tucson Sector.

Four individuals were found in the Tucson Station area after a "citizen" reported seeing possible illegal aliens in distress. One was taken to a hospital. The others were medically evaluated and then taken to the Border Patrol's processing center in Tucson.

Also, one illegal immigrant found in the desert in the Nogales area was taken to a hospital for treatment. And agents working out of the Sonoita Station took an illegal immigrant found in the Huachuca Mountains to a hospital for treatment, and then to the Nogales Station for processing.

More than 200 of the Tucson Sector's agents are also trained as EMTs, according to the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector communications staff.

Agents also took into custody over the weekend a man who had five felony warrants out of North Carolina for his arrest on charges including rape and larceny. He was processed by Border Patrol and transferred to the U.S. Marshal's Office for extradition to North Carolina. The man was identified as a suspect on the run using the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

Feds won't deport arrested O.C. illegal immigrant (Orange County Register)

Feds won't deport arrested O.C. illegal immigrant
Published: July 21, 2010

WASHINGTON Federal immigration officials will not be taking custody of Antonia Rivera of Santa Ana and her fellow illegal immigrants arrested on Capitol Hill Tuesday for demonstrating for a bill that would give her and others brought to the United States as children the chance to live here legally.

“None of them have been referred to ICE,’’ said Gillian Brigham, spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “Our focus is on smart immigration enforcement that focuses first on criminal aliens and people who post the greatest threat to the communities.’’

Rivera, 28, a graduate of UC Irvine, was arrested Tuesday along with 20 others. All were released by the end of the day Wednesday and will have to return to Washington next month for court appearances.

“It’s outrageous,’’ said Rep. Gary Miller, R-Diamond Bar. “How can you have a protest right in a U.S. senator’s office, admit you are here illegally in violation of the law and we pat you on the back and do nothing?’’

Rivera was arrested in the Hart Senate Office Building along with 11 others who sat in a circle in the atrium of the building wearing graduation caps and gowns. Capitol Police asked them to move and when they refused they were arrested. They were charged with disorderly conduct.

Juan Escalante, a spokesman for the arrested students, said they are actually disappointed that they haven’t been turned over to federal officials because it would make their actions dramatic.

They came to the nation’s capitol to try and persuade lawmakers to move on the DREAM Act. That measure that would give people brought here as children, who went through school here and went on to college or the military, a chance at legal status.

Opponents of the bill say it rewards illegal behavior and that immigration law must be adhered to.

“You’re rewarding those who have broken immigration laws,’’ Miller said. “Obviously she’s received an education much at the taxpayers’ expense. She should be grateful, not here protesting.

Brigham said that ICE doesn’t necessary take action against every illegal immigrant they learn about because of the need to spend resources wisely.

When someone is taken into ICE custody it cost money and manpower, she said, to detain them, hold immigration court proceedings and deport them.Rivera will return to her home in Santa Ana later this week but must return to Washington for a court appearance next month.

She said she is not afraid of being deported, even though she has virtually no family in Mexico, where she was born.
The point of her civil disobedience was to risk everything to raise the profile of the issue, she said.

“I am ready for whatever comes, even if it is being turned over to ICE,” said Rivera, who was brought here at age 6. “It’s just sad that we have to put ourselves through this so people will remember about our story.”

While the activists were in Washington, about 20 DREAM Act supporters demonstrated outside Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Westwood office.

Jorge Gutierrez, a 26-year-old member of the Orange County DREAM Team, said they chose Feinstein, D-Calif., because she sits on the Judiciary Committee.

“Right now the DREAM Act sits in the Judiciary Committee and we need someone to champion it,” said Gutierrez, who along with eight others will be fasting and camping out the office for the next two weeks. “Sen. Feinstein is an important person because she has a lot of influence in Congress.”

But Feinstein’s staff pointed out that she is an original cosponsor of the DREAM Act and has been working for its passage.

“This is a misguided and counterproductive strategy. Senator Feinstein has been a strong supporter of the DREAM Act since the beginning. So, it is unclear why they are targeting our offices, because they know she is supportive of the bill. These protesters need to think of the bigger picture and target their energy more productively, perhaps by focusing on leaders who oppose immigration reform,’’ said Feinstein spokesman Gil Duran.

Rivera and another demonstrator who were part of the atrium circle were detained longer because they did not have sufficient identification. They were released with the five who staged a sit-in at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office.

Those arrested were part of several hundred people who came to the Capitol this week to push for passage of the DREAM Act.
The larger group of demonstrators – including half a dozen from Orange County – held a news conference Wednesday outside the Capitol to highlight the actions of their fellow activists.

“Yesterday many of these young people took an unbelievable decision,” said Brent Wilkes, executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “They’re extremely brave and they did it because they believe strongly in this cause.”

The four activists who remained in custody were reportedly “giving pushback” to the police in an effort to be handed over to federal officials, Escalante said. He argued that the fact they were not handed over shows how broken the immigration system is.

Rivera, who said she worked her way through college and paid for her plane ticket to Washington through fundraising, said she was treated well while in custody.

“It all happened so fast,” said Rivera, adding her family in California and Iowa know about the arrest. “When the police first arrived, I started to panic, but that was the scariest moment.”

Franklin County hearings on false identity charges are waived (Chambersburg Public Opinion)

Franklin County hearings on false identity charges are waived

By VICKY TAYLOR Staff writer

Two men accused of being in the country illegally gave up their rights to preliminary hearings Tuesday on a variety of identity charges. One had previously been deported, according to an immigration agent.

The agent told Pennsylvania State Police investigators that Fita De Los Santos Rivera-Bonilla, 29, had been deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at some time in the past after the investigator contacted ICE to determine Rivera-Bonilla's immigration status.

An alert state trooper is credited with Rivera-Bonilla's apprehension. He is charged with identity theft and tampering with records.

In another case, a Chambersburg Police officer recognized a forged identification card presented by another immigrant when he was taken into custody last week during a burglary investigation.

As a result, Juan Ajanel-Alvarez, 20, was arrested and charged with forgery, providing false identification to a police officer and theft.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, Ajanel-Alvarez admitted to the police officer that he had bought the Guatemalan identification card he was using in Kentucky. At the same time, he allegedly admitted stealing about $100 in loose change from a Meadowbrook Lane apartment in June.

In the Rivera-Bonilla case, a state trooper noticed someone looking inside a vehicle at Ron's Auto Sales in Marion the evening of July 12 and stopped to investigate. While he was trying to talk to the man, who didn't speak English, two more men walked out of the car lot's sales office who also didn't speak English.

He asked for backup from a bilingual trooper then went into the sales office and asked the employee there about the men who had come out of the office. She told him one of the men had transferred a vehicle title and that both men spoke and understood English.

The trooper got a copy of the identification papers used to do the title transfer work, then ran the name on the driver's license through a national police data bank. Closer examination of the driver's license showed it to be a fake.

Rivera-Bonilla was taken to the state police's Chambersburg station, where he was fingerprinted. He allegedly admitted to police that he was in the country illegally.

Both Ajanel-Alvarez and Rivera-Bonilla are in Franklin County Jail while awaiting formal arraignments on Sept. 1
In addition to the local charges, they could face ICE charges.

ICE Raids U.S. Citizen (KMGH-CO)

ICE Raids U.S. Citizen
Carbondale Man Handcuffed, Threatened With Deportation

Jaclyn Allen, 7NEWS Reporter
POSTED: 6:45 pm MDT July 21, 2010

CARBONDALE, Colo. -- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents raided a Carbondale man's home and threaten to deport him last week.

The problem was that he is a U.S. Citizen.

"It was six in the morning, and I was still sleeping and I heard the knocking," said Marco Guevara.

When he opened the door, immigration agents quickly offered him a one-way ticket back to Ecuador.

"I was pretty sure they didn't want my family to know. They just wanted to take me in and make me disappear," said Guevara. He said when he turned to call to his parents, he was tackled and handcuffed.

Carbondale Police and Sheriff's Deputies teamed up with ICE agents last week for a series of gang sweeps.

But in at least one case, their information was apparently wrong.

Guevara said he is a U.S. citizen with a valid U.S. passport he's used to leave the country and return twice.

He said agents wouldn't listen to him, though, and his stepmother had to step in.

"I'm white. I speak fluent English," said Laurie Guevara-Stone. "There's just a lot of prejudice and racism and most people don't have someone like me in the house who can actually talk to these agents and make them calm down."

An ICE spokesman would not comment on the raid but released a statement to 7NEWS stating: "The ICE agent and sheriff's seputies on site acted appropriately and professionally. The incident is under investigation."

Brendan Greene with Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition said ICE agents "didn't have a leg to stand on."

"By act of law, if you're under the age of 18 when your parents become a citizen, you automatically become a citizen," said Greene.

He said Marco's father became a naturalized citizen in 2003 when Marco was 17.

"Unfortunately, it's something we see all too often with some of the ICE enforcement operations because of faulty databases that ICE uses to identify immigrants," said Greene. "In any other database a five to ten percent error rate would be unacceptable."

Guevara said the agents came to his home because they said he had a deportable offense -- a 2008 felony drug charge.

"I was hanging out with the wrong people," he said. "But I paid my fines, did my time, and never tried to justify it. I was held responsible for my actions."

Since then, he said he has found a job and been born again.

He said his favorite apostle, Paul, turned his life around, too.

"Just have faith and do the right thing, and you'll be alright," said Guevara.

Still, he said he lives in fear ICE will find something wrong with his papers and come knocking again.

"How many people have been deported, and then they could have been like, 'Oh we made a mistake.' But who's going to bring them back? Who's going to help them out?" he said.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cuban on tiny foam boat going to Gitmo (

Cuban on tiny foam boat going to Gitmo

MIAMI - The Cuban migrant found trying to reach the U.S. on a tiny, plastic foam boat will be sent to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

The Cost Guard confirmed Monday that immigration officers made the decision after interviewing the unidentified migrant.

The U.S. Coast Guard picked up the castaway on July 13 about 50 miles south of Marathon in the Florida Keys.

He told officials he had left Havana on June 20.

King City man arrested after drug, immigration problems found (The Salinas Californian)

King City man arrested after drug, immigration problems found
JULY 20, 2010

A 21-year-old King City man was arrested at Vanderhurst and Bassett Street on Saturday morning, sheriff's deputies said, after he failed to use his turn signals.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office said that when Ruben Salvador Dejesus was pulled over in a 2003 Nissan Frontier pickup, he had no driver's license despite living in the United States for three years. A search of the vehicle showed that he had a fake resident alien card and fake U.S. Social Security card, deputies said, as well as two sealed, individually packaged bindles of methamphetamine.

Deputies said a search of his home turned up 1.25 ounces of methamphetamine and four grams of powder cocaine in his room, along with gang indicia, drug packaging, weighing scales and U.S. currency.

Couple Arrested for Human Smuggling

Couple Arrested for Human Smuggling
A couple ended up in the County jail after being busted with a cargo of illegal immigrants.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

By: Laredo Sun

LAREDO, Tx. - A couple ended up in the County jail after being busted with a cargo of illegal immigrants. According to reports, the incident was registered on the check point on highway 59 east of Laredo.

A woman arrived in a GMC truck but before she got to the booth she stopped ans several persons got off the truck and ran into some brush to hide.

Federal agents observed the scene and sought out to to arrest the undocumented immigrants. Moments late they found 6 and arrested the woman that remained in the truck.

Minutes later a Thunderbird arrived and authorities determined the driver was associated with the truck.

The foreigners told immigration agents they were headed to Houston and were going to pay $2,200 to be transported.

31 arrested in San Diego-area ICE-led anti-gang crackdown (BorderFire Report)

31 arrested in San Diego-area ICE-led anti-gang crackdown
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 08:51 ICE

SAN DIEGO - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced on July 19 the arrest of 31 men following a multi-agency enforcement operation targeting transnational gang members in the San Diego area.

The week-long operation, which concluded on July 16, is the latest local effort as part of Operation Community Shield, an ongoing ICE HSI initiative to target, investigate and arrest gang members and gang associates operating in our local communities.

Of the 31 individuals taken into custody during the operation, 22 are members or associates of street gangs based in the San Diego, Vista, Escondido and San Marcos. Ten of those individuals are being prosecuted on federal or state criminal charges. The remaining 12 have been charged with administrative immigration violations and are being processed for removal from the United States.

In the course of conducting the operation, authorities also encountered and took custody of nine individuals, who were not documented gang members, but are suspected of criminal charges or administrative immigration violations.

In all, 12 of the 31 persons arrested during the enforcement action are being criminally prosecuted. The charges range from drug offenses and violation of a gang injunction to obstructing law enforcement and illegally reentering the United States after deportation. Four of those arrested are U.S. citizens. The remainder are foreign nationals from five countries, including Mexico, Iraqi, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Among the five suspects charged with re-entry after deportation, two are known gang members from the "South Los" street gang in North County and the "Shelltown 38th Street" in San Diego. Both have violent criminal histories that include possession of a controlled substance, unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and possession of a concealed weapon.

"Street gangs pose a growing public safety threat to San Diego-area communities," said Mike Carney, acting special agent in charge for ICE HSI in San Diego. "By working closely with our local law enforcement partners and taking deportable gang members off of the street, we are disrupting the gangs' operations and the accompanying scourge of crime and violence."

As part of Operation Community Shield, ICE partners with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational criminal street gangs. Since the initiative began in February 2005, ICE agents nationwide have arrested more than 18,000 gang members and associates linked to more than 900 different gangs.

The National Gang Unit at ICE identifies violent street gangs and develops intelligence on their membership, associates, criminal activities and international movements to deter, disrupt and dismantle gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from criminal seized activities.

5-day DFW gang raid leads to numerous apprehensions (Dallas Crime Examiner)

5-day DFW gang raid leads to numerous apprehensions
July 20, 11:38 AM
Dallas Crime ExaminerBashir Bakhtiari

According to federal immigration personnel, nearly 105 people have been apprehended throughout a raid that came to a close last Saturday and aimed at alleged gang members.

The operation lasted for five days, and those who have taken part in it were local and state law enforcement officials, and those included police officials from Carrollton, Arlington, Irving, and Fort Worth.

John Chakwin, special agent in charge of the Dallas office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, declared that among those arrested was an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, who was accused of a home invasion.

According to ICE personnel, the accusations against those apprehended consisted of drive-by shootings, aggravated assault involving a deadly weapon, burglary, and drug possession.

Four of the people apprehended in Dallas and Fort Worth were learned to be members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, one of the vicious groups that operates in both the United States and Central America. However, as authorities declared, numerous have been part of smaller criminal groups in the Dallas area, and those include How High Krew and Deuce Deuce Beckley.

According to Chakwin, "nearly 66 percent of those captured were gang members," and that "he has never observed a lot of local gangs over the past four years that he has been here."

The apprehensions became the work of a national gang unit organized by the ICE. The ICE is known as the largest agency of the Department of Homeland Security.

Even if the raid was announced as aiming at trans-national gangs under "Operation Community Shield," it was learned that 42 of those apprehended turned out to be citizens of the U.S., declared by ICE personnel. Nearly 33 percent of those captured were in the U.S. undocumented and accused of administrative infringements of immigration law. ICE personnel say that the immigration status of other arrestees remains under scrutiny.

According to ICE officials, from the time when ICE initiated its national gang unit, over 17,500 gang members and affiliates have been captured.