Sunday, May 22, 2011

Forks encounter with Border Patrol mentioned in U.N. forum in New York (Peninsula Daily News)

Forks encounter with Border Patrol mentioned in U.N. forum in New York
By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News
Last modified: May 22. 2011 12:32AM

FORKS — The search for Benjamin Roldan Salinas, missing since fleeing the Border Patrol more than a week ago, is gaining attention beyond the North Olympic Peninsula.

An immigrant advocate from Portland, Ore., is mentioning Roldan Salinas in his speech at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, said Lisa Salazar of the Forks Human Rights Group.

The forum started Monday in New York City and will end Friday.

Salazar provided a copy of the speech to the Peninsula Daily News. She said she didn’t know if the speaker, Pedro Sosa of American Friends Service Committee, has already made the speech.

In it, Sosa, who Salazar said met with her group a few weeks ago in Forks to discuss Border Patrol monitoring, refers to the May 14 incident as an example of the troubles indigenous migrant workers face.

He also blames his disappearance on “irresponsible persecution by immigration agents.”

“I think it’s a big heads-up,” Salazar said, referring to the speech.

“This is an indigenous issue.”

A Border Patrol spokesman could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Roldan Salinas was in a vehicle stopped by a U.S. Forest Service officer on U.S. Highway 101 between Sappho and Lake Crescent.

Border Patrol officers arrived after the Forest Service officer requested translation assistance.

It was learned for the first time Saturday, from Salazar, that the Border Patrol subsequently arrested the other occupant in the vehicle, Roldan Salinas’ wife, Crisanta, for investigation of an immigration violation.

Roldan Salinas fled from the vehicle and jumped into the Sol Duc River.

Between 60 and 80 people have been looking for him since.

There are no plans to end the search, Salazar said.

The Border Patrol has agreed to keep a distance from the searchers, she said.

Salazar said Roldan Salinas’ wife remains in a Tacoma deportation facility.

She declined to say if the couple have family in Forks.

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