Friday, June 17, 2011

Feds nab immigration violators (The Northeast Georgian)

Feds nab immigration violators
Alleged aggravated child molester Antonio Rodriguez sought

Thursday, June 16, 2011 5:29 PM EDT


A sweep into Habersham County by officers of the United States Marshal Service and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] resulted in arrests of illegal immigrants, but didn’t net Antonio Rodriguez, who is being sought for alleged aggravated child molestation.

ICE and Marshals were in the county June 14 and 15, said Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell. “They [ICE] had word he was in the area again,” Terrell said.

Rodriguez is also known as Antonio Diego and Antonio Hernandez.

The federal officers had warrants and “checked one or two addresses in particular, questioning people” looking for Rodriguez, Terrell said. “Anybody they ran into in those locations” was run through federal databases, checking for valid documentation and immigration status. “Any of them that were illegal” were taken into ICE custody, Terrell said.

The scan by federal officers also included checks for major criminal offenses, even major traffic stops, Terrell said.

“They started in Baldwin” Wednesday, Terrell said, stopping at two to three locations. “I think five arrests” were made June 14.

“They ended up in Clarkesville this morning [Thursday],” Terrell said. “I think there were two arrests this morning.”

Clarkesville Police Chief Brad Barrett said the Marshals and ICE notified him as a courtesy. “They asked for help yesterday,” Barrett said, but his officers were not significantly involved in the operation.

Rodriguez is described as being in his mid 20s, weighing 150-160 pounds and being 5-foot-6 or 5-foot-8 in height.

He can also be identified through various tattoos, including a web design on an elbow and the letter “A” tattooed on the left side of his neck. “Antonio” is also tattooed across his upper back, according to the Habersham County Sheriff’s office.

Anyone having information leading to the arrest of Rodriguez should call ICE at 404-893-1210.

Terrell said Habersham County’s arrest and booking procedures include “running them [those arrested] on AFIS [Automatic Fingerprint Identification System] and checking databases at the Georgia Crime Information Center and National Crime Information Center for immigration status. If a person has illegal alien status,” Terrell said, “ICE is notified.”

A June 14 press release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement stated Habersham, along with Clark, Jackson and Pickens counties were “to benefit from [an] ICE program to enhance identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime.

On June 14, ICE “began using a federal information sharing capability as part of the Secure Communities program in Clark, Habersham, Jackson and Pickens counties to help federal immigration officials identify criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails by running their fingerprints against federal immigration databases when they are booked into the system,” the press release stated.

“Secure Communities enhances public safety by enabling ICE to identify and remove criminal aliens more efficiently and effectively from the United States,” said Secure Communities Acting Assistant Director Marc Rapp.

Prior to the implementation of Secure Communities, fingerprints taken of individuals charged with a crime and booked into state or local custody were checked for criminal history information against the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) criminal history records. Once it is activated in a jurisdiction, the fingerprints that jurisdiction submits to DOJ’s biometric system to check for criminal history records are also automatically sent to DHS’ biometric system to check against its immigration law enforcement records. When a match is discovered, ICE evaluates the specific case to determine the individual’s immigration status and takes appropriate enforcement action.

ICE prioritizes removing criminal aliens convicted of the most serious crimes such as major drug offenses, murder, rape and kidnapping. ICE also gives high priority to other threats to public safety, such as aliens with known gang affiliations, drunk driving arrests or fugitives, or those who frequently try to game the immigration system.

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