Sunday, April 30, 2006

INB 4/30/06: Raids Spark Fear; Protests in DC, NJ, SF, Miami

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 16 - April 30, 2006

1. Raids Spark Fear, Rumors
2. Families Protest Deportation
3. More Protests: Newark, SF, Miami

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499; INB is also distributed free via email; contact to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at


Reports of widespread immigration raids at stores, restaurants,
laundromats, transportation hubs and the streets have kept many
immigrants home in fear throughout the US since around Apr. 20.
Most of the raid reports have turned out to be false alarms,
according to journalists and advocates who investigated them.
[New York Times 4/29/06; Miami Herald 4/27/06; Wall Street
Journal 4/28/06; Bergen Record (NJ) 4/24/06] US Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) said it was carrying out enforcement
actions but would not give details: "We're conducting operations
everywhere, all around the country and New Jersey, as part of our
normal operations," said ICE spokesperson Michael Gilhooly.
"They're not random sweeps. They're planned law enforcement
actions that result from leads and intelligence." [Asbury Park
Press (NJ) 4/29/06]

One person cited by the New Jersey-based Portuguese-language
National The Brazilian Newspaper said rumors about immigration
raids in restaurants and stores began flying in Newark after ICE
went to a location on Elm Street looking for two Brazilians with
prior deportation orders. [NTBN 4/27/06] The New York Spanish-
language daily El Diario-La Prensa published confirmed reports of
two raids in New Jersey. In Plainfield on Apr. 20, five
immigration agents entered a home and asked all 11 people present
to show their documents. At least one person was arrested and
taken to Hudson County Jail in Kearny. At a home in North
Plainfield on Apr. 14, two Guatemalans and three Costa Ricans
were arrested by immigration agents and taken to a detention
center in Elizabeth. [ED-LP 4/26/06]

In Austin, Texas, US citizen Manuel Mendez was working at a
construction site on Apr. 26 when two immigration enforcement
cars pulled up. Immigration agents asked Mendez to show
immigration documents. "They singled me out because I was
Hispanic, and they thought I was not from here, they thought I
was from Mexico," he said. [News 8 Austin 4/26/06] John Chakwin,
the top regional investigation official for ICE in Dallas, said
his office is working at least five active investigations in the
region which includes North Texas and Oklahoma, and is gathering
information from more than a dozen local, state and federal
agencies for more. "We can't possibly chase every illegal alien
in North Texas, but we've got to go after the companies who hire
them," Chakwin said on Apr. 27. [Dallas Morning News 4/28/06]

Some people have suggested that rumors of raids are part of a
campaign to intimidate immigrants from participating in a May 1
nationwide day of action which includes demonstrations and a
planned boycott of work, school and shopping. [Newsday (NY)
4/28/06] Fear is also being stoked by major recent ICE operations
like the Apr. 19 nationwide arrests of nearly 1,200 workers
employed by the pallet company IFCO [see INB 4/22/06]. In an Apr.
28 sign-on letter to ICE chief Julie Myers, the National
Immigration Law Center (NILC) mentioned the IFCO sweep and
expressed "grave concern with the chilling effect that recent
immigration enforcement actions may have on peaceful
demonstrations and protests that are planned for May 1, 2006, in
support of comprehensive immigration reform." [NILC 4/28/06]

On Apr. 25 in Chinook, Washington, nearly 50 agents from ICE and
other federal and state agencies executed federal search warrants
on several fishing boats at the Port of Chinook as part of an
investigation into possible violations of fishing report
requirements. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the
state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service/National Marine
Fisheries Service and the US Coast Guard participated in the

In the same operation ICE arrested 16 undocumented immigrants--
including a minor--working at Bell Buoy Crab Co., a seafood
processing plant in Chinook. Those arrested were transported to
Portland, Oregon and placed in removal proceedings. ICE regional
spokesperson Lori Haley called the arrests "routine." Chinook is
located at the mouth of the Columbia River; across the river in
Astoria, Oregon, where some of the arrested workers lived, the
operation sparked fear and rumors of more raids. To protest the
separation of families in Astoria, high school students planned
an emergency demonstration for Apr. 28. [AP 4/26/06; WSJ 4/28/06;
Daily Astorian 4/26/06, 4/28/06]

ICE agents arrested 183 immigrants throughout the state of
Florida in a weeklong operation that ended on Apr. 21. Those
arrested included 130 people ICE characterized as "fugitive
criminal aliens," as well as 53 out-of-status immigrants who
happened to be at the raided sites. [ICE News Release 4/24/06; MH
4/27/06] Their countries of origin included Bahamas, Brazil,
Canada, Peoples Republic of China, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guyana,
Haiti, Honduras, India, Israel, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico,
Nicaragua, Peru, Syria, Poland, Trinidad, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The operation was spearheaded by ICE fugitive operations teams
based in Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando, and carried out
with the participation of the Orange County Sheriff's Office, US
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Jacksonville Sheriff's
Office, Miami-Dade Police Department, City of Miami Police
Department, Coral Gables Police Department, Broward Sheriff's
Office, Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, Hialeah Police Department
and Florida Probation and Parole. [ICE 4/24/06]

ICE agents arrested 125 immigrants throughout the Midwest from
Apr. 10 to 19, according to a report received by the National
Association of Chiefs of Police. The agency said 106 of those
arrested were "fugitives" who had ignored deportation orders; 46
of them also had criminal convictions. The other 19 people
arrested were described as "immigration status violators" and
were presumably picked up because they happened to be at the
raided sites. Those arrested came from 28 countries: Cameroon,
China, Congo, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El
Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia,
Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Lithuania,
Mexico, Poland, S. Korea, Romania, Somalia, Tanzania, Thailand,
Ukraine, and Yugoslavia.

The operation was carried out by agents from ICE's Detention and
Removal Operations (DRO) "fugitive operations teams" based out of
ICE offices located in Bloomington, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois;
Indianapolis, Indiana; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville,
Kentucky; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; St. Louis, Missouri; and Wichita,
Kansas. ICE said the arrests were part of its National Fugitive
Operations Program (NFOP). [Sierra Times 4/30/06; Sheboygan Press
(WI) 4/28/06]

On Apr. 20 in the five boroughs of New York City, ICE arrested 52
immigrants it described as "child predators" in a joint operation
with officers of the New York City Department of Probation.
According to ICE, all the individuals arrested had been
previously convicted of sex offenses. Of the five arrestees whose
cases were detailed in an ICE press release, only one received a
jail sentence--four months--for his crime. The others were all
sentenced to probation. The countries of origin of the 52
arrestees included China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador,
Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Jamaica, Liberia,
Mexico, Norway and Trinidad. "New York City Probation is pleased
to work once again with ICE and Homeland Security to rid this
city of 52 dangerous predators," said Martin F. Horn, New York
City Probation Commissioner. [ICE News Release 4/20/06]

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said on Apr.
28 that raid rumors may also have been fueled by a roundup in
which the US Marshals Service arrested more than 9,000 fugitives
wanted for a number of crimes. ICE assisted in the effort but
most of those detained were US citizens. [AP 4/29/06]


On Apr. 24, the first day the Senate returned from recess to
resume debate over immigration reform, hundreds of families
affected by deportation gathered on the West Lawn of the Capitol
in Washington, DC to protest immigration laws passed a decade
earlier. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(AEDPA), passed on Apr. 24, 1996, forced thousands of immigrants
into mandatory detention and deportation. Rally participants came
from California, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, New York and Washington. They urged Congress to
reject measures that step up deportation, such as one being
considered by the Senate under which mere suspicion of "gang
activity" could subject an immigrant to deportation.

Organizers of the protest have outlined a series of proposed real
reforms that would keep families together and end what they see
as retroactive punishment and double jeopardy. They also support
a measure introduced by Rep. Jose Serrano--HR 5035, the "Child
Citizen Protection Act"--which would restore limited discretion
to immigration judges where the exile of an immigrant parent is
clearly against the best interests of a US citizen child. Members
of Families for Freedom, Hate Free Zone, Homies Unidos, Keeping
Hope Alive, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Northern
Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights participated in the
protest. [Families for Freedom 4/27/06]


According to police estimates, nearly 3,000 people rallied for
immigrant rights in Lincoln Park in Newark, New Jersey on Apr.
23. The "March for Peace and Liberty of Immigrants" was organized
by the newly formed Immigrant Rights Defense Committee of New
Jersey. State attorney general Zulima Farber addressed the crowd
in Spanish and English. [Star-Ledger 4/24/06] Organizers said
attendance was lower than expected, probably because rumors of
immigration raids led many immigrants to stay home in fear.
[Diario Hoy (NY) 4/24/06]

In San Francisco on Apr. 23, religious leaders including the
city's archbishop, George Niederauer, led a march of 10,000-
15,000 people to demand that Congress take up legislation
favorable to immigrants. [AP 4/24/06; David Bacon 4/23/06]

On Apr. 22 more than 4,000 protesters filled the streets of North
Miami near the regional immigration offices to denounce
discriminatory immigration policies toward Haitians. The crowd of
mostly Haitian immigrants demanded that Haitians be granted
temporary protected status (TPS), which provides temporary relief
from deportation. "We're gonna fight to make sure there are no
second-class citizens... Haitians will no longer go invisible!"
protest organizer Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of
Service Employees International Union (SEIU), told the crowd.
Since Congress created TPS in 1990, it has been granted to
citizens of Burundi, El Salvador, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua,
Somalia and Sudan--but never to Haitians, despite that country's
severe crisis situation. [Miami Herald 4/23/06]

On Apr. 10 in Connecticut, as part of a national day of action
for immigrant rights [see INB 4/16/06], some 3,000 people
gathered on the New Haven green, and 2,000 people marched in
Hartford from a local church to a rally at the state capitol.
[Email from Joelle Fishman 4/16/06] For Seattle's Apr. 10 march,
the media estimated the crowd at 15,000, but Mayor Greg Nickels,
who spoke at the rally, put the number at 25,000. [AP 4/11/06]
Activists believe it was closer to 40,000. [Email from Sylvie
Kashdan 4/17/06]

In Waukegan, Illinois, about 35 miles north of Chicago, about 300
students skipped school the morning of Apr. 13 to march for
immigrant rights. [Chicago Tribune 4/14/06]


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