Saturday, February 10, 2007

INB 2/10/07: Day Laborers Arrested, Military Bases Raided

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 4 - February 10, 2007

1. Baltimore: Day Laborers Arrested
2. Chicago: Cleaning Workers Arrested
3. More Military Base Arrests

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 for info. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe.


On Jan. 23, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 24 undocumented day laborers in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven convenience store in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. ICE spokesperson Marc Raimondi said the agents were part of a fugitive operations team on an unrelated assignment when they stopped at the convenience store. A group of day laborers approached the agents' unmarked vehicles, believing they were contractors looking for workers. According to Raimondi, the ICE agents then determined that all 24 men assembled at the store were out-of-status, and brought them to an ICE holding facility in Baltimore. "Although ICE conducts targeted enforcement actions, we will not ignore immigration violations we encounter during the course of doing business," said John Alderman, acting director of ICE's Baltimore field office. Ten of the arrested men were Honduran, eight were Mexican, five were Salvadoran and one was Peruvian. According to ICE, six of the men had criminal records in the US, eight had failed to comply with final removal orders from an immigration judge and one had been caught at the border on four occasions.

At a press conference later the same day in front of the 7-Eleven where the arrests took place, the immigrant advocacy group CASA of Maryland said the "illegal raid" unfairly targeted Latin Americans and was beyond ICE's authority. "Asking a bunch of people about their immigration status is well beyond the confines of a specific warrant," CASA spokeswoman Kim Propeack said. Other immigrant advocates and faith leaders joined in the press conference to protest the arrests and call for reforms to the country's immigration system. [Washington Times 1/24/07]


On Jan. 23, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents arrested 11 women immigrants from Poland who worked cleaning residences and businesses in the Chicago area. The women were employed by CleanPol, a cleaning service company operated out of a residence in Glenview, just north of Chicago. All 11 had entered the US on visitor visas and overstayed. They have been placed in removal proceedings.

ICE initiated the investigation into CleanPol in October 2006 after receiving information that out-of-status immigrants were employed there. ICE subsequently discovered that CleanPol employed workers who were picked up in a van each day and driven to various job sites. ICE agents stopped a van at an intersection on Chicago's north side and made the arrests after watching the driver pick up workers at several locations. [ICE News Release 1/24/07]


On Jan. 17, ICE agents and US Army security personnel arrested 24 contract workers as they attempted to enter Fort Benning, Georgia, to build a barracks for soldiers. Three of the workers had overstayed visas and are to be placed in removal proceedings; the other 21 face federal charges in the US District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in Columbus for identity theft and immigration violations, including improper entry and reentry after deportation, according to ICE.

In Virginia on Jan. 18, ICE arrested 14 undocumented workers on administrative immigration charges--three of them at the Quantico Marine Base, three in Fredericksburg and eight at an apartment complex in Dumfries. ICE arrested two other men--one of them a US citizen--at the same Dumfries apartment complex; the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia has charged the two with conspiracy to harbor "illegal aliens." A third man is being sought. The three men are accused of hiring undocumented immigrants to work on a construction project on Quantico Marine Base. They are also accused of leasing apartments for the workers and providing them with transportation onto the base using trucks bearing Department of Defense decals.

On Jan. 18, ICE agents and Nellis Air Force Base security officers arrested two immigrants at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The two were employed by a masonry construction company to construct aviation electronics buildings on the base. According to ICE, one of those arrested is a Nicaraguan who "is a member of MS-13, considered to be one of the most dangerous gangs operating in America." The investigation into is ongoing, says ICE.

Agencies assisting in the three operations included the US Marshals Service, the US Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, US military security personnel and the police department of Prince William County, Virginia. [ICE News Release 1/19/07]

During the week of Jan. 22, federal and Florida state agents arrested 13 individuals at the Naval Air Station in Key West, Florida. ICE reported that two of those arrested were undocumented and "in possession of fraudulent" green cards; the US attorney's office has agreed to prosecute, ICE said. Two other men were arrested on outstanding state warrants and nine on state fraudulent identifications charges, ICE reported. More than 120 individuals who did not have proper naval IDs were escorted off the base. All those arrested and escorted off base were employed by general contractors, the agency said. Other agencies involved in the operation included the Naval Air Station Key West, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Key West Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. [Miami Herald 1/29/07]


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