Friday, October 27, 2006

INB 10/27/06: Bush Signs Border Bill; Raid in Missouri

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 37 - October 27, 2006

1. Bush Signs Border Bill
2. Raid at Missouri Produce Company
3. "Return to Sender" Raids Spread

Immigration News Briefs is a 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 for info. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is archived at


On Oct. 26 at a White House ceremony, President George W. Bush signed a bill authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the nearly 2,000-mile US-Mexico border in what was viewed as an effort to boost anti-immigrant Republican candidates just before the Nov. 7 elections. "We have a responsibility to enforce our laws," said Bush. "We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility serious." [AP 10/26/06]

The House of Representatives passed the Secure Fence Act on Sept. 14 by a vote of 283-138 [see INB 9/16/06]. [New York Times 10/27/06] The Senate approved it on Sept. 29 by a vote of 80-19. [Washington Post 9/30/06]

The law authorizes the construction of at least two layers of reinforced fencing around the border town of Tecate, California, and across nearly the entire length of Arizona's border with Mexico. Another expanse would cover much of the southern border of New Mexico, and in Texas the fencing would cover the border areas between Del Rio and Eagle Pass, and between Laredo and Brownsville. The entire fence is supposed to be completed by the end of 2008. The law also orders the Department of Homeland Security to install surveillance cameras along the Arizona border by May 30, 2007. The homeland security secretary is to achieve "operational control" of the US border within 18 months using unmanned aerial vehicles, ground-based sensors, satellites, radar and cameras.

The bill includes no money for the fence, although a homeland security spending measure the president signed earlier in October included $1.2 billion toward the border project's cost, including access roads, vehicle barriers, lighting and high-tech equipment. The entire fence project is expected to cost some $6 billion.
T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing border agents, said Oct. 25 that Customs and Border Protection statistics for the year ending Sept. 30 show arrests at border crossings down 8% nationally, but up in the San Diego sector--the area of the border with the most fencing. [AP 10/26/06]


On Oct. 19 in Union, Missouri, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents executed criminal search warrants at Happy Apples and Lochirco Fruit & Produce and at two residences owned by the Happy Apples business owners. Agents arrested 33 immigrants in the raids; one is from Honduras, the rest are from Mexico. In an investigation sparked by a confidential lead, ICE determined that many Happy Apples employees were living and working in the US illegally, and many were residing in apartments owned by their employers. "Business owners and managers who knowingly employ or harbor illegal aliens are committing felonies, and may be criminally prosecuted," said Pete Baird, assistant special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Kansas City, which oversees the states of Missouri and Kansas.

Franklin County and Warren County Sheriff's Offices helped ICE with the operation. The Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General; Department of Labor; Department of State; and Defense Criminal Investigative Services are assisting ICE with the ongoing investigation. [ICE News Release 10/20/06]


ICE agents arrested 163 immigrants from 11 countries in Lee and Collier counties in southwest Florida during the week of Sept. 18. The raids were part of the national "Operation Return to Sender," targeting immigrants who have failed to comply with deportation orders, or who have criminal records making them eligible for deportation proceedings. [Miami Herald 9/26/06]

ICE agents arrested 111 immigrants between Oct. 12 and 18 throughout the state of New Jersey. Of the 111 people arrested, 65 were targeted because of outstanding removal orders; another 46 were only violating immigration rules. Only 34 of the 111 people arrested had prior criminal records. The 111 immigrants were from Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Ecuador, Syria, India and Peru. [ICE News Release 10/19/06]

Between Oct. 16 and 19, ICE agents arrested 49 immigrants--including nine women and at least one minor--in "Return to Sender" raids in southwest Idaho. Agents arrested 22 people in Boise on Oct. 16, and 27 others over the subsequent three days in the towns of Nampa, Caldwell, Meridian and Eagle. All those arrested were from Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador; 31 of them had been removed to Mexico as of Oct. 20. ICE officers in Denver planned the sweep, which was executed by officers based in Boise, Denver, Helena (Montana) and Salt Lake City, with help from local law enforcement agencies including the Boise Police Department, Nampa Police Department, Caldwell Police Department, Canyon County Sheriff's Office, and Ada County Sheriff's Office. [ICE News Release 10/20/06]

ICE agents arrested 16 immigrants from Albania, China, Czech Republic, Ghana, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Poland in the Chicago metropolitan area between Oct. 16 and 19 under "Operation Return to Sender." Thirteen of the 16 had prior criminal records. ICE was assisted in the operation by the US Marshals Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force. [ICE News Release 10/20/06]

ICE agents arrested 44 immigrants from Mexico, Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia and Pakistan in Austin, Texas, in mid-October as part of "Return to Sender." [News 8 Austin 10/16/06]


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