Saturday, September 23, 2006

INB 9/23/06: House Passes More Anti-Immigrant Bills; More Raids

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 35 - September 23, 2006

1. House Passes More Anti-Immigrant Bills
2. Day Labor Raid in Connecticut
3. Colorado Air Base Raided
4. GA: 30 Arrested in Workplace Raid
5. WA: Industrial Laundry Raided
6. IL: Chinese Buffet Raided
7. FL: Raid on Prison Roofers
8. Mississippi Country Club Raided
9. "Return to Sender" Hits Michigan

NOTE: Immigration News Briefs will not be published for the next three weeks. It will resume on Oct. 21.

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 now archived at


On Sept. 21, the House of Representatives voted 328-95 to approve HR 6094--the "Community Protection Act of 2006"--an anti-immigrant bill which would allow indefinite detention, overturning the Supreme Court's June 2001 Zadvydas v. Davis ruling. The bill would also allow noncitizens to be quickly deported if the government believes they are gang members, and would bar suspected gang members from obtaining political asylum. The same day, the House voted 277-140 to pass HR 6095--the Immigration Law Enforcement Act of 2006--which would authorize state and local police to enforce federal immigration law, expand expedited removal, limit appeals and lawsuits in immigration cases and revoke the Orantes injunction, which protects Salvadorans from expedited removal. A third bill, passed unanimously, would impose a 20-year prison sentence for creating or financing a tunnel under the US border.

The Senate is due to consider these measures during the week of Sept. 25. On Sept. 22 the Senate was debating a border fence bill approved by the House on Sept. 14 [see INB 9/16/06]. It is possible that proponents of the enforcement bills will seek to attach them to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bills which have already passed both houses and are being reconciled in committee. Advocates are urging people who support immigrant rights to contact their senators immediately to express opposition to these bills. [National Immigration Law Center (NILC) Urgent Update 9/21/06; Los Angeles Times 9/22/06; Washington Times 9/22/06; AP 9/22/06]


On Sep. 19, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 11 out-of-status day laborers from Ecuador who were waiting for jobs near Kennedy Park in Danbury, Connecticut. Danbury police helped ICE with the sweep. Police Capt. Robert Myles said his agency alerted ICE after receiving numerous complaints from residents, and after warning the day laborers to stay out of the roadway and in Kennedy Park. "The daily warnings which were given for a period of over two months were ignored and [ICE] was called for assistance," said Myles.

"If they are having problems, why don't they call leaders and community organizations and have a meeting to pass this information down and find a solution?" asked Wilson Hernandez, founder of the Ecuadoran Civic Center in Danbury, on Sept. 20. A day after the raids, the number of day laborers at Kennedy Park was down by about 80% over previous days. [Danbury News Times 9/20/06, 9/21/06] Danbury mayor Mark Boughton is a fierce proponent of tougher immigration policies; with New York's Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy he co-founded the Mayors and County Executives for Immigration Reform, a lobbying group that calls for stepped-up enforcement measures and federal compensation to local governments for costs associated with immigration. []


On Sept. 20, ICE agents arrested 120 immigrant workers at a housing-construction site at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado. The raided site is within a mile of what the Denver Post called "top-secret global-surveillance and missile early-warning facilities." At least 45 ICE agents took part in the operation, in partnership with officials from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

Air Force officials on the Buckley base blamed their contractor, Texas-based Hunt Building Co., a leading provider of military housing including facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Hunt's superintendent on the project, Bruce Jackson, said he had no idea the workers were undocumented. "Certainly not," Jackson said. Hunt has 24 subcontractors, said Stephanie Shuhayda, Jackson's office manager. Jeff Copp, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver, said ICE will work with military special investigations officials "to identify the culpability between the subcontractors and employees and anyone else involved." The investigation that led to the raid was carried out over several months with help from federal labor officials and Aurora police, Copp said.

The $78 million, 353-unit housing project is immediately adjacent to the military base, but not actually on it. According to Abel Madera, a masonry subcontractor at the site, US military officials "know a lot of illegal people don't have IDs," so they set up the construction project to give workers access without having to pass through military checkpoints. Hunt officials said once the housing is completed, a wall will be built around it and it will then become part of the military base. The project began in January 2005 and was scheduled for completion "sometime next year," according to Shuhayda, the Hunt office manager.

An ICE news release said the arrested workers were all men, ages 18 to 50, from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Officials with the Mexican consulate in Denver said they were told by ICE that 98 immigrants, including three minors, were put on a bus to Mexico the day of the raid, Sept. 20. ICE spokesperson Carl Rusnok confirmed that 98 of the workers were returned to Mexico because agents determined they had no criminal records. Three workers were found to have outstanding criminal warrants and were turned over to the Aurora Police Department. [Denver Post 9/20/06; Rocky Mountain News 9/20/06; El Paso Times 9/22/06; ICE News Release 9/20/06]


Early on Sept. 14 in Alpharetta, Georgia, ICE agents and local deputies arrested 30 men from Latin America who were employed by Forsyth Curb Co. Inc., a company specializing in curbs and gutters. According to the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, 20 of the workers are facing charges of first-degree forgery and identity theft because they used false documents to get their jobs; the other 10 are in ICE custody facing deportation. Sheriff's Capt. Paul Taylor said in a statement that the operation was "the result of an ongoing investigation " by his office and ICE. "It's a great example of local, state and federal agencies working together," said Taylor. The raid stems from an investigation last January in which Forsyth Sheriff's officials arrested six people for producing fake immigration and Social Security documents. A federal grand jury indicted the members of the alleged forgery ring in April. In July authorities gave the owner of Forsyth Curb Co. notice that employees were using bogus identification, Lt. Col. Gene Moss said. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution 9/15/06; Gainesville Times 9/15/06]


On Aug. 30, ICE agents arrested 26 Mexican immigrant workers in a raid at Northwest Health Care Linen, an industrial laundry in Bellingham, Washington that supplies linens to Puget Sound area hospitals. The agents had a sealed civil search warrant, according to ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice. The raid followed an audit of I-9 forms and other employment records; Northwest Health Care Linen owner Jim Hall said the agent investigating his business promised to give him a list of employees with questionable documents within 60 days. Instead, agents carried out the raid, an "extremely emotional event," said Hall, that could have been avoided. The company was shut down for two hours as armed agents in bulletproof vests interviewed workers, according to Hall. As of Sept. 1, 21 of the workers remained in custody at ICE's Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. The other five were released to care for children, Kice said. All face possible deportation. [Bellingham Herald 9/2/06]


On Sept. 20, ICE agents arrested 16 employees in a raid at Buffet City in Springfield, Illinois. The arrested workers are two women and eight men from China, and six men from Mexico. The restaurant's co-owner, Xiang Hui Ye, was also arrested and is being held by the US Marshals Service; on Sept. 21 he was charged in federal court with concealing or harboring "illegal aliens" and hiring or recruiting them for employment. The raid came a day before the Illinois Times named Buffet City as its readers' favorite buffet restaurant.

According to an affidavit by ICE special agent Brian Withers, Hui Ye provided housing for the workers in apartments near the restaurant. The affidavit says the restaurant underpaid workers $266,366 over a two-year period, as found in a review of Buffet City payroll information by a US Department of Labor (DOL) investigator. The affidavit says the investigation began on Jan. 15, 2005, when senior special ICE agent Tom Merchant received a phone call from a man who said he had been fired from Buffet City because he had told Hui Ye that he did not like working with "illegal aliens." The restaurant was placed under surveillance later that month. In April 2005, Merchant received a request for assistance from DOL investigator Fred Wrightman, who said he had received a complaint from a Buffet City employee about wage violations. In December 2005, five undocumented Mexicans who had worked at Buffet City were arrested near the restaurant. [State Journal-Register (Springfield) 9/22/06]


On Sept. 7, ICE arrested 15 immigrants employed by a roofing contractor doing work at the Federal Correctional Institution in South Miami-Dade, Florida. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officers at the facility initially detained three workers there on suspicion of fraudulent documents; the BOP officers then contacted ICE, which dispatched investigators. ICE Miami spokesperson Barbara Gonzalez said 13 of the detained men were from Mexico and two were from Guatemala. They all allegedly used fraudulent documents to get their jobs. All 15 were transported to the Krome detention center in West Miami-Dade and put in deportation proceedings, Gonzalez said. [Miami Herald 9/17/06]


On Sept. 13, ICE agents served warrants on the Country Club of Jackson, Mississippi, and arrested 18 suspected out-of-status workers there. All those arrested were employees of the country club, according to ICE spokesperson Temple Black. "Any folks ... who are a menace to the community, we will turn over to the US attorney for prosecution," Black said. The rest will be issued a "notice to appear" before an immigration judge, who will review their case, said Black. [Clarion-Ledger (Jackson) 9/14/06; WLBT 3 (Jackson) 9/13/06]

Eleven workers were arrested Aug. 23 in a similar raid at a country club in Little Rock, Arkansas [see INB 9/2/06].


In "Return to Sender" raids from Sept. 8 to 13, ICE agents arrested 55 people, 11 of them with prior criminal records, in the area around Lansing, Grand Rapids and Battle Creek in western Michigan. Those arrested were from Burma, Cambodia, China, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Turkey and Yugoslavia. One man with a prior criminal record faces charges for having reentered after being previously deported. Most were detained in the Calhoun County Correctional Facility for processing and deportation. While ICE claimed all those without criminal records had ignored deportation orders, Grand Rapids Attorney Richard Kessler, who specializes in immigration law, said some were merely "in the wrong place at the wrong time," detained because they were at the home of the individuals being sought. The sheriff's offices of Calhoun and Kent counties provided "significant assistance" to the operation, ICE said. [Grand Rapids Press 9/16/06; AP 9/14/06]

From October 2005 to August 2006, ICE fugitive operations teams arrested more than 24,000 people nationwide, of whom "more than 9,000" had criminal convictions, says ICE. According to ICE, "more than 6,800" of those arrested have been removed from the US. ICE currently has 45 fugitive operations teams across the US and expects to have 52 by the end of 2006. [ICE News Release 9/11/06]



Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted: they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

INB 9/16/06: House Passes Border Fence Bill; Raids in CA

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 34 - September 16, 2006

*1. House Passes Border Fence Bill
*2. Raids Shake Northern California

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 now archived at


On Sept. 14, the House of Representatives voted 283-138 in favor of a bill calling for construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing along several sections of the 2,000-mile US border with Mexico: around Tecate and Calexico, California; along most of the Arizona stretch; and in heavily populated areas of Texas and New Mexico. All but six House Republicans joined 64 Democrats in approving the bill. The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prevent "all unlawful entries" into the US within 18 months after the bill is enacted; urges DHS to allow Border Patrol agents to forcibly disable fleeing vehicles; provides for more cameras, ground sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles; and orders a study on security at the northern border with Canada to determine whether a fence is needed there. [Los Angeles Times 9/15/06; Washington Times 9/15/06] The fence measure was already included in HR 4437, which passed the House last Dec. 16 [see INB 12/17/05]. The nearly 2,000-mile US-Mexico border currently has about 75 miles of fencing. [Washington Post 9/15/06]

The bill doesn't include funding for the fence. Republicans estimate the cost at more than $2 billion, and say it will be covered in a later spending bill. Democrats estimate the fence would cost $7 billion, based on information from the DHS on costs per mile of a double-layer fence. "This is nothing more than political gamesmanship in the run-up to the midterm elections. Sounds good. Does nothing," said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). [AP 9/14/06]

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview that House Republicans' plan to push tough border security measures through Congress before the Nov. 7 elections might help the party in some districts, but not others. "On balance, I'm not certain it's a political winner," said Lugar. [Chicago Tribune 9/15/06]

Republican legislators promoted the fence bill as the first phase of a larger border-security package they unveiled Sept. 14. The broader package would increase the number of Border Patrol agents, step up prosecution of immigrant smugglers and criminalize the building of tunnels under the border. It would also cancel the 1988 Orantes injunction, a provision protecting Salvadorans from expedited removal. [New York Times 9/15/06; LAT 9/15/06] DHS has been actively pushing for an end to the Orantes injunction since last November [see INB 2/5/06].

With Congress focusing on enforcement and DHS stepping up its crackdowns on employers who hire out-of-status immigrant workers, some business owners--especially in the agricultural sector--are getting nervous. "The status quo is killing farmers," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). "They are desperate. I've never seen anything like it." On Sept. 13 farmers, restaurant owners and other businesspeople dependent on immigrant labor staged a rally outside the Capitol in Washington, DC to press their concerns. [LAT 9/15/06; Capital Press (Oregon) 9/15/06]


On Sept. 7 and 8, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 107 immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and India in a sweep through the northern California towns of Watsonville, Hollister and Santa Cruz. The raids were part of "Operation Return to Sender," which according to ICE targets "criminal aliens, foreign nationals with final orders of deportation, and other immigration violators." Only 19 of the 107 people arrested had prior criminal convictions. One was turned over to the Fresno Police Department on an outstanding arrest warrant. By Sept. 11, at least 87 of those detained had already been removed from the US. [ICE News Release 9/11/06; Santa Cruz Sentinel 9/10/06]

Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action (COPA), an interfaith coalition in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, held a meeting on Sept. 9 at Our Lady Star of the Sea church in Santa Cruz to inform its members about the raids. At least four members of the church's congregation were arrested in the raids, according to Barbara Meister of COPA. Most of those picked up in the sweep were men who had been brought to the US by their parents while they were children, according to lawyers Doug Keegan, of the Santa Cruz County Immigration Project in Watsonville, and Alisa Thomas, based in the Santa Cruz suburb of Live Oak. [Santa Cruz Sentinel 9/10/06; Register-Pajaronian (Watsonville) 9/11/06] Thomas said those deported also included a mother of seven children, whose youngest child, 18 months old, went into convulsions and was hospitalized while the mother was being taken to Mexico. The children were left in the care of their father, who works two jobs. If the mother had been allowed to plead her case before an immigration judge, said Thomas, she probably would have been granted a stay. [R-P 9/11/06]

COPA also organized a Sept. 13 press conference at Resurrection Catholic Church in Aptos, another Santa Cruz suburb where arrests took place, to denounce the raids. "Questionable laws are being enforced in an inhumane way," said Patrick Conway, pastoral associate at the church. "While we call for legislators to reform immigration laws, we cannot stand by silently while this is being done to our families." Among some 50 community members participating in the press conference was the owner of a residential care home in Live Oak, who spoke about the deportation of a Mexican man who cooked meals for the home's residents. The deported man's wife, a caregiver at the same home, also attended. Ralph Porras, assistant superintendent of Santa Cruz City Schools, said the raids have sparked "apprehension in the Latino community about the safety of their children." The fear has apparently led some people to keep their children home from school. [Santa Cruz Sentinel 9/14/06]



Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted: they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

Saturday, September 9, 2006

INB 9/9/06: Thousands March for Immigrant Rights

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 33 - September 9, 2006

Special Double Issue:

1. Thousands March for Immigrant Rights
2. Charges Dropped Against Activists
3. GA: Poultry Plant Raided
4. NY: Another Buffalo Area Raid
5. Puerto Rico: Construction Site Raided
6. "Return to Sender" Hits Las Vegas, Twin Cities
7. ICE Arrests "Aliens" in Roswell, NM

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 now archived at


According to Andrea Black, coordinator of the Detention Watch Network (DWN), at least 45,000 people attended an immigrant rights march and rally in Washington, DC on Sept. 7. In a statement issued for the rally, DWN said: "The fight for immigrant rights is not just a fight 'for' legalization, our fight is against deportation, our fight is for all immigrants' right, our fight is for real comprehensive immigration reform." [DWN Message 9/8/06] "If we can't get this Congress to pass fair immigration reform now, we'll elect a new Congress in November that will pass it," Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) told the rally.

Newsday of Long Island, New York, reported that 10,000 people marched in Washington. [Newsday 9/8/06] The Washington Post reported attendance at "fewer than 5,000." The We Are America Alliance of immigrant rights groups billed the march as a post-Labor Day demonstration to show Congress that undocumented workers still want an immigration reform bill that would allow them to work in the country legally. "I will say honestly that we continue to be amazed that people come by the thousands in spite of raids against immigrants," said Deepak Bhargaba, executive director of the Center for Community Change, which helps fund and organize the alliance. [WP 9/8/06]

While the crowd rallied on Sept. 7, the Senate passed a $470-billion defense spending bill for fiscal 2007 that includes $1.8 billion for the National Guard to install 370 miles of fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers along the southern US border. The Senate bill will have to be reconciled with the $428-billion defense spending bill the House passed in June. [Los Angeles Times 9/8/06]

More than 200 immigrant rights activists gathered at the Texas Capitol in Austin on Sept. 7 to honor those who have died crossing the border. "We wanted to bring it back to the actual people, to being human, to say that no human is illegal. We all have a right to be here. We're supporting all immigrants," said activist Silky Shah. [Channel 8 News (Austin) 9/7/06]

The Sept. 7 rallies followed demonstrations for immigrant rights in at least 17 cities on Sept. 4, the Labor Day holiday. [ 9/5/06] Some 4,000 immigrant rights supporters rallied at the state Capitol in Phoenix, according to organizers' estimates. Police said the event drew about 1,000. [New York Times 9/5/06] The Arizona Republic estimated attendance at 2,000, with about 50 counter-protesters. [AR 9/5/06] AP reported the crowd size as 900, and said the counter-protest drew 100 people. [AP 9/4/06]

Local police estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people attended a Sept. 4 immigrant rights march in San Francisco, sponsored by the Regional Unity Coalition for Immigrant Rights. [North Gate News Online (UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism) 9/5/06] Another 2,500 people marched in neighboring Oakland, while 8,000 to 10,000 people turned out in nearby San Jose. [San Jose Mercury News 9/5/06] According to AP, about 400 people marched in Los Angeles on Sept. 4. [AP 9/4/06] Several hundred people marched in Sacramento [Sacramento Bee 9/5/06], and about 400 marched in downtown Fresno. [ 9/5/06]

More than 1,000 people rallied at MLK Memorial Park in Seattle following a two-mile march through the city for immigrant rights and against war. "We're looking to renew the civil-rights movement," said Jorge Quiroga, of El Comite Pro-Amnistia General y Justicia Social, which organized the march. "It's about social justice. This march is a call for solidarity." [Seattle Times 9/5/06]

In Texas on Sept. 4, according to AP, about 500 people marched to Dallas City Hall, and a similar-sized crowd attended a Houston rally. [AP 9/4/06] The Militant newspaper, published by the Socialist Workers Party, said 1,000 were at the Houston rally. The Militant's crowd figures for other cities were close to those cited in mainstream news reports. [Militant 9/18/06]

In Milwaukee, the traditional Labor Day union parade was combined with an immigrant rights march, and more than half the crowd appeared to have been mobilized by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and Voces de la Frontera, a local workers advocacy center. Among the 3,000 to 4,500 participants were a number of politicians, including Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett and Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle. At least one union--the 1,900-member Local 75 of the Plumbers and Gas Fitters--boycotted the march over the immigrant rights theme. "You're looking at the face of America in 40 years," said Jerry Kopczynski, a freight company driver from Franklin. "People don't get it. This is the American worker right here, no different than the Irish or the Poles." [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 9/4/06]

A four-day march from Chicago ended Sept. 4 at the Batavia office of Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) with a rally of about 3,000 people according to Gabe Gonzalez, Midwest regional organizer for the Center for Community Change. [AP 9/4/06] The police's crowd estimate was 2,500. [NYT 9/5/06] The Chicago Tribune said 2,000 people attended the Batavia rally, and about 250 marched the entire 45-mile route [see INB 9/2/06]. About 150 anti-immigrant counter-protesters showed up at the Batavia rally. [CT 9/5/06]

About 1,200 people marched on Sept. 4 in St. Paul, Minnesota. [Pioneer Press 9/5/06] According to the Militant, hundreds rallied in Dubuque, Iowa, and about 200 marched and rallied in Newark, New Jersey. [Militant 9/18/06] According to the National Immigrant Solidarity Network, marches or rallies were also scheduled to take place on Sept. 3 in Pittsburgh; on Sept. 4 in San Diego; and on Sept. 7 in Trenton, New Jersey. [NISN 9/2/06]

On Sept. 8, about 75 people took part in an "Immigrant Rights are Worker Rights" rally in Chicopee, Massachusetts, organized by the Anti-Displacement Project, Jobs with Justice and the Pioneer Valley AFL-CIO Central Labor Council. [The Republican (Springfield) 9/9/06]


On Sept. 1 in Tucson, Arizona, US District Judge Raner Collins dismissed federal charges against humanitarian activists Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss. The two were arrested by the Border Patrol near Tucson on July 9, 2005, while driving sick migrants to a clinic, and were indicted on Aug. 3, 2005, for transporting undocumented immigrants [see INB 7/15/05, 7/23/05, 8/6/05]. Collins ruled that No More Deaths officials had assured the activists "that the 'protocol' had been approved by Border Patrol and that the transportation for these medical purposes was not a violation of the law." Collins noted that in the three years before 2005, "no one was arrested and prosecuted for following the protocol." [Arizona Daily Star 9/2/06, 9/5/06]


On Sept. 1, at least a dozen US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided the Crider poultry packing plant in Stillmore, in east central Georgia. Agents also made arrests in nearby Metter and Oak Park the same weekend; it was not clear whether those arrests were of Crider employees. About 90 to 100 people were detained on administrative immigration violations in the Sept. 1-3 sweeps, according to the local TV station WTOC, which was apparently invited to accompany the Crider plant raid. A "small number" of those arrested had "pressing child custody concerns" and were released with a notice to appear in immigration court, according to the Swainsboro weekly Blade Plus. [WTOC 9/2/06, 9/6/06; Blade Plus 9/11/06]


On Aug. 30, ICE agents served a warrant on the Fortistar Hydroponic Tomato Greenhouse in North Tonawanda and arrested 34 immigrant workers there. The same day, the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York was expected to criminally charge each of the 34 with use of a fraudulent alien registration card ("green card") and false use of a Social Security number. They will also be administratively charged with being illegally present in the US and will be scheduled for a removal hearing before a federal immigration judge. The Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations and the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Office of Inspector General helped conduct the investigation, according to Peter J. Smith, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Buffalo. ICE officials are still investigating to determine whether the company knew it was employing out-of- status workers, according to ICE spokesperson Michael Gilhooly. [ICE News Release 8/30/06; Tonawanda News 8/31/06, 9/7/06]


On Aug. 31, ICE agents arrested 38 Dominican immigrants working at the Los Prados construction site in Caguas, Puerto Rico. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Branch and the Puerto Rico Police Department participated in the operation. All 38 workers were placed in removal proceedings for being in violation of immigration laws; they are detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. The construction site is managed by Cue & Lopez Contractors, Inc. [ICE News Release 9/1/06]


Over a six-day period ending Aug. 29, ICE agents arrested 109 immigrants as part of "Operation Return to Sender," a national ICE program targeting immigrants with criminal records, final orders of deportation or other immigration violations. Most of those arrested were from Mexico; others were from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, the Philippines, Colombia, Belgium, Iran, Cuba, and Korea. By Aug. 29, more than 35 of the immigrants had already been removed from the US. The rest were in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge. Of the 109 people arrested, 59 had prior criminal records. [ICE News Release 8/29/06; AP 8/29/06]

In a sweep of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area between Aug. 23 and Sept. 1, ICE agents arrested 90 out-of-status immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Indonesia, Cambodia, Ukraine, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Of the total, only 48 had final orders of deportation. Ten of those arrested had prior criminal convictions. ICE's local "fugitive operations team" was supported in the raids--part of "Operation Return to Sender"--by ICE officers from Omaha, Grand Island and North Platte, Nebraska; and from Des Moines and Sioux City, Iowa. Also assisting was the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)-sponsored Minnesota Fugitive Task Force and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department. [ICE News Release 9/7/06]


On Aug. 29, ICE agents executed a search warrant at Dean Baldwin Painting Inc. at the Roswell Industrial Air Center in Roswell, New Mexico and arrested 15 of the company's employees for working illegally in the US. The workers had been hired to paint US military aircraft aircraft. The high-tech aviation stripping and repainting firm employs more than 170 people. Those arrested were citizens of Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala. They will be placed in removal proceedings. The US Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General; Defense Criminal Investigative Service; US Department of Labor; Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General; and US Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol (CBPBP) all assisted with the operation. [ICE News Release 8/29/06; KRQE News 13 (Albuquerque) 8/29/06] [ICE's news release, titled "ICE arrests 15 aliens in Roswell working for US military contractor," was reposted on various websites as a humor piece, since Roswell is famous for a story involving "aliens" from outer space whose spaceship allegedly crashed nearby in 1947.]


Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted: they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

Saturday, September 2, 2006

INB 9/2/06: New Round of Marches; Raids in Florida, Arkansas

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 32 - September 2, 2006

1. New Round of Marches Begins
2. Multiple Raids in Florida
3. Raid at Arkansas Country Club

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 now archived at


On Sept. 2, about 5,000 immigrant-rights supporters marched through downtown Los Angeles to City Hall as part of a series of events planned through Labor Day weekend. The march was organized by the March 25th Coalition. [ (Los Angeles) 9/2/06]

In Chicago, at least 400 supporters of immigrant rights kicked off a four-day march from the city's Chinatown at noon on Sept. 1. The marchers will end their 45-mile journey, dubbed the Immigrant Workers Justice Walk, on Sept. 4 at the office of US House Speaker Dennis Hastert in Batavia, a suburb west of the city. The march demands include legalization for undocumented immigrants and a moratorium on raids and deportations. Catherine Salgado of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights said she expects a few hundred supporters will walk the entire distance, and thousands more would show up at the route's various rallies. [Chicago Tribune 9/2/06] Marches are also planned for Sept. 4, the Labor Day holiday, in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Phoenix, Arizona, and a national march is scheduled for Sept. 7 in Washington, DC. [San Jose Mercury News 9/2/06]

On Sept. 1, Miller Brewing Co. denied reports in that day's Chicago Tribune that it had contributed over $30,000 to "a planning convention, materials and newspaper ads" for the Chicago march. Miller isn't sponsoring the march and didn't authorize use of its trademarks in association with the event, said Miller spokesperson Peter Marino. "The money supported a recent convention on immigration issues in Chicago, which provided attendees with information on how to become legally naturalized citizens of the US," Marino claimed. A coalition of Midwestern Latino community organizations had threatened to boycott Miller because the company's political action committee made $2,000 in campaign contributions to Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), sponsor of anti-immigrant bill HR 4437, which the House passed last December. The boycott was canceled after the two sides met in Chicago, and Miller agreed to run newspaper ads against the bill and help the group fight it. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 9/1/06]

The presence of the "Miller Girls," the company's public relations ambassadors and a display of Miller logos at a welcoming reception the day before the Aug. 12-13 planning convention in Chicago was defended by some of the organizers. "We would love to have 20 corporate logos. It doesn't mean we are selling the movement out," said Jorge Mujica, a member of the March 10 Committee. "The principles and demands remain the same. They are helping out this movement and we are happy with that." [CT 9/1/06]


On Aug. 26, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 55 immigrants from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala who were working as janitors in state government buildings in Tallahassee, Florida. All 55 were employed by General Building Maintenance, Inc. (GBM), a janitorial services company contracted by the state of Florida. The US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida will criminally prosecute three of the workers, two for illegally re-entering the US after being deported and one for document fraud. Another 21 workers have accepted "stipulated orders of removal" and will be deported. The other 30 workers have been charged administratively for being in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Six were released under orders of supervision because they were juveniles or "families with young children," ICE said; the rest are detained. "A potential vulnerability has been neutralized," said Robert Weber, special agent-in-charge of ICE investigations in Tampa. Agencies assisting the operation included the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Department of Management Services, the Tallahassee Police Department, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, the US Marshals Service and Leon County Sheriff's Office. [ICE News Release 8/30/06]

A federal judge ruled on Aug. 25 that ICE agents had probable cause in arresting six men the previous week in Tallahassee on a criminal complaint that they were carrying fake immigration papers. Five men were arrested at a trailer park; the sixth was picked up at a Wal-Mart. William Clark, a federal defender representing the man arrested at Wal-Mart, said it was rare to see such cases where a person was "picked up on the street for being illegal, you don't ordinarily see that." In the courtroom, Clark grilled an ICE agent on what criteria was used to identify his client as a suspected undocumented immigrant. US Magistrate Judge William Sherrill cut short Clark's questioning and ruled the agents had probable cause for the arrest. [Tallahassee Democrat 8/26/06]

ICE arrested another 82 immigrants--all but three of them described by an ICE news release as "fugitives" who had ignored deportation orders--in Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa over a two-week period ending Sept. 1. [ICE News Release 9/1/06] Over the weekend of Aug. 26 in Apopka, 12 alleged Mexican gang members and "associates" were arrested in a joint operation between ICE, the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the City of Apopka Police Department. The arrests were part of "Operation Community Shield," targeting "criminal street gangs with foreign-born members." Since the operation was launched in March 2005, ICE claims to have arrested more than 3,450 alleged "street gang members and associates" nationwide. In the same news release, ICE reported six "non-gang related" arrests over the same weekend (presumably in the same area), of Mexican nationals who were detained and charged administratively for violating immigration laws. [ICE News Release 8/28/06]


On Aug. 23, ICE agents arrested 11 employees of the Country Club of Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of an identity-theft investigation. US Attorney Bud Cummins said the workers were to be arraigned in federal court on Aug. 25. Social Security investigators and the US Marshals Service assisted in the operation. Cummins said the club's management had cooperated with authorities in the investigation. [AP 8/24/06]


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