Saturday, April 9, 2011

Feds: Detroit immigration agents may have broken rules with school raid (Detroit Free Press)

Feds: Detroit immigration agents may have broken rules with school raid
Apr 8, 2011

A federal agency said Thursday that its immigration agents in Detroit appear to have violated policies when they targeted a school last week where immigrant parents were dropping off and picking up their children.

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) followed parents from their homes to Hope of Detroit Academy, a public charter school in southwest Detroit, on March 31. There were about a half-dozen ICE vehicles with tinted windows around the school, said Ryan Bates, who is with the Alliance for Immigrants Rights & Reform Michigan.

Some parents were inside with their children, afraid to come out, he said. "I found members of two families who were terrified," Bates said.

In a statement, the national director of public affairs said that agents in Detroit may have violated rules.

"ICE is concerned by reports about the manner in which this operation was conducted and is conducting an internal review of the facts surrounding it," said ICE Director of Public Affairs Brian Hale. "Elements of the operation appear to have been inconsistent with policy and our standards and priorities."

ICE officers "are required to follow a policy that prohibits operations near schools unless approved by headquarters or otherwise based on exigent circumstances," Hale added. "It is not clear that this policy was appropriately followed in this matter. In addition, one of the targets may not have been within the agency's stated enforcement priorities."

Hale said if it is found that procedures were violated, "appropriate steps will be taken."

Bates said that the incident is the latest in what he says is a pattern of harassment of Latinos and other minorities as federal agents step up enforcement of immigration laws. At least two parents were detained on alleged immigration violations following the raid at the school, Bates said. They remained in custody Thursday.

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