Saturday, June 30, 2007

INB 6/30/07: Bill Dies, Protests & Raids Continue

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 16 - June 30, 2007

1. Immigration Bill Fails
2. LA: Protesters Defend Immigrant Rights
3. Orange County Organizes Against Raids
4. Raids: Colorado, Wyoming, Florida
5. Missouri: Roofers Arrested, Indicted
6. Upstate NY Contract Workers Arrested
7. Omaha Drywall Company Raided
8. Wisconsin Hotel Operators Indicted
9. Michigan Worker Drowns, Five Arrested

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 June 28, the US Senate defeated a measure that would have limited debate on immigration reform and cleared the way for final passage of a proposed "compromise" bill. The measure to end debate and move forward with the bill got 46 votes, 14 short of what it needed to pass. The measure was backed by 33 Democrats, 12 Republicans and one independent; opposing it were 37 Republicans, 15 Democrats and one independent. One senator was absent. The measure's failure means that immigration reform is likely dead until after the 2008 elections, according to the New York Times.

The compromise bill had scant support among the public: in a CBS News Survey taken earlier in the week of June 25, 13% of respondents said they supported passage of the bill, while 35% opposed it and 51% said they lacked sufficient information to make a decision. The bill included many harsh and punitive provisions which led many pro-immigrant constituencies and organizations to oppose it, while others sought its passage in the hopes that it could be improved along the way. President George W. Bush had tried to win over fellow Republicans with a personal appeal to support the reform bill, but that effort failed.

The bill's defeat was largely credited to anti-immigrant forces, which mustered up their grassroots lobbying strength in a fierce campaign against what they see as "amnesty" for out-of- status immigrants. "I think the president's approach didn't work," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who saw the bill as too favorable to out-of-status immigrants. Republicans "need to be careful we don't walk into such an adverse circumstance again. This did not work out well. Our own members were placed in difficult positions." [AP 6/28/07; NYT 6/28/07]


On June 24, several thousand demonstrators, many carrying US flags, marched through Hollywood, California to demand full rights for immigrants. Police estimated the crowd at 1,100. Organizer Raul Murillo said the marchers want lawmakers in Washington to know immigration reform is essential. [Los Angeles Times 6/25/07; Los Angeles Daily News 6/25/07] The Coalition in Defense of Immigrant Rights (CDIR), which organized the march, said more than 15,000 people took part. [CDIR Update No. 15, 6/24/07, via Los Angeles Indymedia,]

A day earlier, June 23, about 100 people tried to march into Leimert Park in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, an area seen as the cultural center of the city's Black community, to protest "illegal immigration." The mixed group of Black activists and members of the "Minutemen" organization was led by homeless activist Ted Hayes, who has allied himself with the Minutemen to push the anti-immigrant cause. The marchers were confronted by a crowd of about 500 mostly Black and Latino pro-immigrant counter-demonstrators, including several hundred Crenshaw residents, who gathered inside the park; police kept the two sides apart and blocked the anti-immigrant group from entering the park. The standoff lasted several hours but ended without any major incidents. Hayes and four other people were arrested. [LAT 6/24/07; Fox 11 (LA) 6/23/07; Article by Leslie Radford 6/25/07 posted on LA Indymedia]


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on June 22 that it had arrested 175 people in Orange County, California, south of Los Angeles, in a five-day operation allegedly targeting immigrants with prior criminal records. Only 27 of those arrested had criminal records, while 26 were considered "immigration fugitives" who had ignored prior deportation orders. The other 122 people were presumably out-of-status immigrants caught up in the sweeps. Federal immigration officials worked with the Orange County Sheriff's Department and other law enforcement agencies and received leads from the public to help locate the suspects. The majority of those arrested were from Mexico; others were from India, Kenya, the Philippines and Colombia. More than 100 had been deported as of June 22. [Reuters 6/22/07; Daily Pilot (Newport Beach & Costa Mesa, CA) 6/23/07; Los Angeles Times 6/23/07]

On June 27, a small group of immigrant rights activists hit the streets of Santa Ana carrying signs that read "Deport ICE" and "Alto a los Redadas" ("Stop the Raids") and handing out fliers about a meeting called for June 28 and a march planned for June 30. The activists were told by local residents that further raids had happened on June 22 and 23--after the five-day Orange County operation allegedly ended--with about 15 more people arrested. Residents also said that ICE agents were continuing to question and harass people in the community. The activists are planning to step up their presence in an effort to monitor ICE activity and protect residents. [Anonymous posting on LA Indymedia 6/28/07] The June 30 march against the raids is set to start at noon in Santa Ana at the corner of Raitt and McFadden; it will end with a rally and press conference at a park across from 4th and Ross. [LA Indymedia 6/27/07; rally information posted at]


Federal agents arrested 38 immigrants--including four women--in Colorado and Wyoming in a three-day operation June 20-22. ICE said the operation focused on immigrants with prior criminal records and those who didn't show up for hearings or had ignored deportation orders. On June 20, ICE arrested 17 people in Summit county in northern Colorado, and five people in Sweetwater and Carbon counties in Wyoming. On June 21-22, ICE arrested an additional 11 people in Summit county and five others in Colorado's Routt and Moffat counties. Those arrested were from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and the Czech Republic. [AP 6/23/07; ICE News Release 6/22/07]

ICE arrested 61 immigrants in the Florida cities of Miami, Orlando and Tampa over the week of June 18. ICE was to announce the arrests on June 25 along with the arrests of 41 other immigrants in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The operations allegedly targeted people with prior convictions and those who had failed to comply with deportation orders. In Florida, 19 of the 61 people arrested had criminal convictions. [Miami Herald 6/25/07]


On June 18, ICE served arrest warrants in a raid on several roofing companies in Kansas City, Missouri, arresting 40 people. Six of those arrested, including several roofing company owners, were named on federal criminal indictments announced the same day here; another three people named on the indictment remain at large. The other 34 people were arrested on administrative immigration charges. The criminal case is being prosecuted by the US Attorney's office for the Western District of Missouri. The indictment was returned under seal by a federal grand jury on May 29 and was unsealed on June 18. Among other charges, the indictment alleges that after 22 immigrants working for roofing company Mid-Continent Specialists were deported in a March 2001 raid, the company paid for and arranged for 15 of them to be smuggled back into the US so they could return to their jobs. ICE investigated the case with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation division, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Social Security Administration. [ICE News Release 6/18/07]


Around 3:30am on June 18, Monroe County sheriff's deputies and federal agents arrested 12 immigrants working for a tiling subcontractor at a construction site in Pittsford, New York, just southeast of Rochester. US Border Patrol officials referred the case to ICE for investigation. The workers are being detained at the federal detention center in Batavia, Genesee County, awaiting immigration hearings, according to Border Patrol officials. Hearing dates have not been set. One of the men is from Honduras; the rest are from Mexico. They apparently worked for Dynamic Ceramic Tile Inc., a subcontractor helping to build a Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Pittsford Plaza. [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 6/22/07]


On the morning of June 26, ICE raided Tufly Drywall in southwest Omaha, Nebraska. The raid continued into the evening of June 26, with federal agents and Douglas County deputies removing boxes and suitcases from the Tufly premises. ICE said it arrested one person on the night of June 25 in connection with the operation. In a statement, Tufly CEO Don Gatewood said the company "had a visit from several federal agencies for a search warrant for documentation relating primarily to employees and subcontractor files. The investigation under way is the result of a complaint from a third party. The agencies and Tufly company are cooperating with each other in every way possible to answer any questions pertaining to the investigation." Neighbors said Tufly has occassionally been picketed by labor unions. The neighbors said they were surprised by the raid. [KETV (Omaha) 6/27/07]


On June 11, federal agents arrested Wisconsin motel operators Siddhartha "Sam" Shah and Jignesh "Mark" Jagaria; a day later a federal indictment was unsealed against the two, charging them with smuggling unauthorized immigrants into the US from Guatemala to work at their motels. They appeared in US District Court in Madison on June 12 and were released pending trial.

Shah and Jagaria are charged with harboring a smuggled worker at a Wisconsin Dells motel. In June 2006, according to the indictment, Shah arranged a $6,500 bond to free the worker, who had been caught and detained in Texas after crossing the US border, then tried to hide his involvement in obtaining the bond. Shah then arranged for the worker to be brought from Texas to Wisconsin Dells, and took steps to hide the worker from law enforcement officers, the indictment alleges. In September 2006, Shah gave the smuggled worker a job cleaning rooms at the Wisconsin Dells Super 8 and living quarters in a storeroom. Shah is also charged with witness tampering for allegedly telling a former employee to lie to federal investigators about the circumstances surrounding the posting of bond for the smuggled worker, according to the indictment. The investigation was completed by ICE in cooperation with the US Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General and the Wisconsin Dells Police Department. [Portage Daily Register (WI) 6/13/07]


Five undocumented Mexican workers employed at the VerHaar Dairy Farm in Bad Axe, Michigan, have been arrested by Michigan State Police to be handed over to immigration authorities after a sixth worker, 17-year old Jose Martin Lopez Cruz, drowned in the Saginaw Bay on June 20. Lopez and the five other workers were reportedly walking along a breakwall when several of them, including Lopez, decided to jump in to the water. Lopez reportedly was pulled under by the strong current; the other men tried to rescue him but failed. Police divers retrieved his body nearby, just outside the entrance of the harbor.

The incident led the Michigan State Police to launch another investigation into the employment of unauthorized immigrants at the farm owned by Johannes and Anthonia VerHaar, where ICE agents arrested 13 workers last May 8 [see INB 5/20/07]. According to police, the five workers arrested on June 20 ranged in age from 16 to 33; they and Lopez had reportedly been working for the VerHaar farm for a few weeks to a few months. An ICE team was expected to pick up the five men at the Huron County Jail on June 22 and transport them to Detroit to face removal proceedings or voluntary departure. "The VerHaars will be subject to federal charges if deemed appropriate by the US Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement," Det./Sgt. Mark Krebs said in a press release issued by the state police. [Huron Daily Tribune 6/21/07]


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".)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

INB 6/24/07: Detainee Force Fed; Agent Kills Migrant; Raids

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 15 - June 24, 2007

1. Hunger Striking Detainee Force Fed
2. Undercover Border Agent Kills Migrant
3. Dallas Factory Raided
4. Poconos Plastics Factory Raided
5. California Pizzerias Raided
6. 18 Arrested in Nantucket Raids
7. New Haven Marches Against Raids
8. Atlanta: Vigil Draws Over 10,000

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 June 15, a federal judge in Trenton, New Jersey ruled that officials at the Monmouth County jail in Freehold can use intravenous or feeding tubes to force feed immigration detainee Samuel Izrailovich Shevaniya, who is on hunger strike. Shevaniya arrived at Monmouth County jail on June 7 and stopped eating on June 9. According to a petition filed on June 14 by the US Attorney's Office in Newark and obtained by The Star-Ledger, Shevaniya has "steadfastly indicated he has no intention of eating," and if he doesn't get food soon "his health will continue to deteriorate and he will ultimately die." Undersheriff Cynthia Scott, a spokesperson for the Monmouth County Sheriff's Department, said Shevaniya was cooperating with doctors, who will use either an intravenous tube or a feeding tube to deliver nourishment.

Detainee advocates and attorneys say they don't remember a time when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency asked for a court order to make a detainee eat. "For the most part, they put them in isolation and threaten to force-feed people," said Subhash Kateel, co-director of Families for Freedom, a New York City-based group.

The Monmouth facility is mainly used to detain people picked up by ICE's New York City office. Shevaniya's hunger strike comes less than a month after a controversy over a canceled visit to the jail by a United Nations human rights inspector. Scott said the inspector, Jorge Bustamante, canceled his visit after jail officials set several conditions, including allowing jail officials to videotape his interviews with detainees. Bustamante called that statement "a lie," saying jail officials simply denied access. [Star Ledger (Newark) 6/16/07]


Early on May 31, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed Benito A. Gonzalez after trying to handcuff him in an unincorporated area north of Escondido, California, just east of Interstate 15. Gonzalez was an out-of-status immigrant who lived in Sun City in Riverside County. The incident began when undercover Border Patrol agents pulled over a van suspected of carrying unauthorized immigrants, arrested the driver and 11 passengers and took them to a Border Patrol station. Gonzalez arrived in a separate vehicle and according to officials, confronted the lone undercover agent who had stayed behind to wait for a tow truck. The agent and Gonzalez scuffled in a parking lot and again in an adjacent lot after Gonzalez tried to run away, sheriff's investigators said. It was unclear whether Gonzalez was linked to the van stopped earlier. [San Diego Union Tribune 5/31/07; AP 6/5/07]


On June 14, ICE agents raided a factory of Fossil Inc. in northeast Dallas, Texas, arresting 31 women who worked there. Dozens of people who said they were family members of the workers were outside the factory that afternoon, trying to find out the whereabouts of their relatives. Seven of the workers were from Honduras, three were Salvadoran, one was Nicaraguan and the other 20 were Mexican. Authorities interviewed a total of 63 women workers in the factory, which does repair work on Fossil watches and other products. [Dallas Morning News 6/14/07]


On June 19, ICE agents arrested 81 suspected unauthorized immigrant workers in a raid on Iridium Industries Inc.'s Artube division, a manufacturing plant in the Poconos area of Pennsylvania. The raid took place at 6am, as night-shift workers were punching out. The company employs 130 workers. All the arrested workers were taken to detention centers for processing and have been placed in removal proceedings for eventual deportation, said ICE spokesperson Ernestine Fobbs.

The vast majority of the arrested workers--76 of them--were from Indonesia. The rest were from Malaysia, Mexico and Ecuador. Twelve women detainees were being held in Pike County Correctional Facility in Hawley. It was unclear where the other detainees were taken. Indonesia has demanded access to its citizens arrested in the raid, saying it wants to make sure they get legal assistance, a Foreign Ministry official in Jakarta said on June 22. "They have overstayed their visas and allegedly violated the US immigration law," ministry spokesman Kristiarto Legowo said. "We want to make sure that, as suspects, their rights are protected."

Iridium's plant manager, Wayne Migliaccio, said on June 20 that the raid was focused on a temp agency that supplied workers to the plant. "[ICE] Special Agent Jason Rundell's first words to me were, 'You are not the target here. You are the victim,'" Migliaccio said in a statement emailed to the media. "Rundell said that the raid was aimed at one particular temporary employment agency which was operating in the area." Neither Migliaccio nor government officials identified the temp agency. Fobbs said the investigation was "ongoing."

Migliaccio said Iridium uses various temp agencies and that it is their responsibility to check workers' immigration status. He said the company had no reason to question the employees' status before the raid. But an Iridium worker told the Pocono Record that "the owners, everybody there knew those people are illegals." The employee said unauthorized immigrants have worked at the plant for at least the past five years. A former Iridium employee confirmed that information, saying the company has high worker turnover and "very few" authorized workers. The sting began with complaints to Monroe County CareerLink. "We had a few remarks from past [Iridium] employees who said something fishy was going on," said John Casella, CareerLink director. Casella contacted state Rep. Mario Scavello about two weeks ago. "The federal government acted pretty quickly," Scavello said. Stroud Area Regional Police helped conduct surveillance on the company before the raid. Iridium makes plastic squeeze tubes for customers like L'Oreal and Victoria's Secret and has received more than $9 million in public assistance since it opened in 1999, including a $3.7 million tax-free bond in May 2007. [Pocono Record 6/21/07; AP 6/20/07, 6/21/07, 6/22/07]


At 6:30pm on June 15, armed ICE agents executed search and arrest warrants in simultaneous raids on two northern California pizza parlors owned by Glenio Silva, a legal resident from Brazil. ICE arrested Silva and six of his employees, all Brazilian, in the raids on Monterey Pizza in San Francisco and the Pizza House in Hayward. Two of the workers have been charged criminally for identity theft, while four were arrested on administrative immigration violations. Another two workers charged with identity theft in the case are still being sought.

According to investigators, Silva staffed his two restaurants with unauthorized workers from Brazil, paying them in cash to conceal their employment and avoid payroll taxes. Ray Greenlee, a deputy special agent in charge at ICE's San Francisco office, said Silva also was housing some of the workers upstairs from the Hayward pizzeria. On June 18 Silva was charged in federal court with harboring unauthorized immigrants; he was released the same day on $75,000 bail and was back at work June 19 at the Hayward restaurant. Silva and his wife were also ordered to surrender their passports.

Local law enforcement agencies did not participate in the raids. San Francisco has a "sanctuary" policy that precludes local police from cooperating with immigration enforcement. Hayward has no formal policy, but Police Chief Lloyd Lowe has said it is not his department's practice to get involved in immigration issues. The California Department of Motor Vehicles Office of Investigations did collaborate with ICE during the course of a four-month investigation into Silva's businesses, and DMV officers assisted ICE in the raids. [Alameda Times-Star 6/20/07; ICE News Release 6/19/07]

Rosana Barcellos, a legal resident who has worked for Silva for about six years, said she and other employees were forced to stand between a soda cabinet and the Hayward pizzeria's front window as they were handcuffed. "There was a huge crowd outside, seeing everything," Barcellos said. "It was humiliating." [Alameda Times-Star 6/20/07]


On June 20 at 4am, 30 ICE agents landed on Nantucket island, Massachusetts, on a Coast Guard ship and joined with local police in raiding several homes. By mid morning, they had arrested 16 immigrants with prior convictions for assault, theft, credit card fraud, drug dealing and other felonies. Two other immigrants were detained for being in the country without permission. The 15 men and three women face court hearings that could lead to deportation. Those arrested were handcuffed, fitted with orange life preservers, and taken to Woods Hole, Massachusetts. One woman was released to care for her child. The arrested immigrants were from Jamaica, Brazil, El Salvador, England, Lithuania, Ireland, and Cuba. [Boston Globe 6/21/07; AP 6/21/07] Yeseni Ayala, a US citizen born in Puerto Rico, said that that four or five Nantucket police officers and an equal number of immigration agents entered her home shortly after 5am on June 20 without asking permission, claiming the door had been left open a crack. "Even though we're Puerto Rican, they put us all in the same column," Ayala said. [Cape Cod Times 6/21/07]


On June 16, more than 1,000 people, including large contingents from labor unions Unite Here and SEIU Local 32B-J, marched through New Haven, Connecticut to protest ICE raids carried out on June 6 in the city's Fair Haven neighborhood [see INB 6/17/07]. The marchers walked from Front Street's waterfront park down Grand Street through rain and thunder. New Haven mayor John DeStefano joined John Wilhelm, president of Unite Here's hospitality division, and members of the city's Board of Aldermen at the front of the march behind a large red and white banner reading "Stop the raids now." [Workers World 6/23/07; People's Weekly World 6/21/07] The Long Island daily Newsday said the marchers numbered "several hundred." In East Haven, the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control held a counter-rally at the local American Legion Post. [Newsday 6/16/07]

On June 20, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department was "examining" whether the New Haven raids were handled properly. Also on June 20, an immigration judge in Hartford reduced bail for 12 of the detainees from the raids to $6,000-$8,000, down from $15,000. Bail was set at $2,000 for one person who lawyers said may be eligible to become a permanent resident. The judge refused to reduce $25,000 bails for two detainees who reportedly had prior criminal records for driving under the influence. Various groups have been raising money to help those detained make bail. [Hartford Courant (CT) 6/21/07; AP 6/21/07]


On the evening of June 18, more than 10,000 people gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, for a vigil to demand "fair and comprehensive immigration reform." Many participants wore white t-shirts and carried candles for the three-hour vigil in the parking lot of the Plaza Fiesta shopping center, organized by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR). GLAHR leader and Mexican former consul general in Atlanta Teodoro Maus said DeKalb County police told him the crowd was between 11,000 and 12,000 people. Rep. Cynthia Mckinney (D-GA) was among the politicians who attended the vigil and addressed the crowd. [Atlanta Latino 6/21/07]

[Georgia was one of the few states where no major pro-immigrant demonstrations were reported during a national day of action last May 1. In Immigration News Briefs of May 6, 2007, we reported on over 100 pro-immigrant actions that took place around the US on May 1, but we missed at least a few others. In New York state on May 1, more than 200 people demonstrated in Ithaca and over 50 people rallied in Albany. [National Jobs with Justice Update 6/18/07] In North Carolina on May 1, two vigils were held in Hendersonville--one which drew 100 people to the Immaculate Conception Church and another of about 50 people at the Capilla Santa Maria. [Report from Evelyn Alarcon of the Latino Advocacy Coalition 5/10/07]]


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".)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

INB 6/17/07: More Raids (New Haven, Portland & More)

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 14 - June 17, 2007

1. Missouri: 136 Arrested at Poultry Plant
2. Forestry Workers Arrested in Idaho
3. Political Motive in New Haven Raids?
4. Portland: Raid at Produce Plant

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 May 22, armed federal agents raided a George's Processing Inc., poultry-processing plant in rural Butterfield, Missouri, about 60 miles southwest of Springfield. The agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG) executed two federal criminal search warrants, rounding up all workers on the day shift and checking their identities and documents. Officers and agents from the Missouri Highway Patrol, US Marshals Service's Fugitive Task Force and the US Department of Agriculture assisted with the arrests.

A total of 136 George's employees were arrested, 88 of them from Guatemala and 48 from Mexico, according to an ICE press release. (News reports citing an ICE spokesperson said some of the workers were from Honduras and El Salvador.) The arrested workers included 59 women. ICE agents and medical professionals from the US Public Health Service (PHS), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, interviewed the arrested workers "to record any medical, sole-caregiver or other humanitarian situations," according to ICE.

Thirty-one workers were released for humanitarian reasons and given notices to appear at a later date before an immigration judge. Those arrested on administrative immigration charges were transported to detention facilities in Wichita, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; and St. Louis, Missouri. Hearings before federal immigration judges will be held in Kansas City. [AP 5/23/07; ICE News Release 5/23/07]

"These worksite enforcement actions help reduce the job magnet that encourages aliens to enter the country illegally," claimed Pete Baird, assistant special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Kansas City, which covers Kansas and Missouri. [ICE News Release 5/23/07]

The arrests were part of an ongoing criminal investigation into identity theft, Social Security fraud and employment of unauthorized workers. On May 24, John F. Wood, US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that eight George's employees--five Guatemalans and three Mexicans--had been criminally charged in federal court: one with Social Security fraud; one with falsely claiming to be a US citizen in order to obtain employment; and six with illegally entering the US after having been deported. Seven of the defendants were arrested in the May 22 raid at the plant; the eighth was arrested on May 7. The US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri previously charged five individuals, in separate cases dating as far back as 2005, as part of the same investigation. [ICE News Release 5/23/07, 5/24/07]

George's released a statement on May 23, saying it uses the federal government's Basic Pilot Program to verify "the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of any prospective employee prior to George's hiring." Springdale-based George's is a regional poultry processor with about 2,300 employees, according to company research service Capital IQ. [AP 5/23/07]


On May 22, ICE agents raided the Idaho City Hotel in Idaho City, Idaho, and arrested 14 undocumented employees of Cutting Edge Forestry Inc., an Oregon-based contractor for the US Forest Service. The workers were among a group of 16 who had been hired to replant trees over a 500-acre area of rugged land in the Boise National Forest that burned in 2003. The terrain--including ridge tops and steep slopes--was so rugged that workers had to be transported to the reforestation sites by helicopter. They had been working for about 10 days, with one week left.

The workers were taken to the Ada County jail, which recently contracted with ICE to detain unauthorized immigrants while they wait for deportation. Ten of the 14 workers waived their right for a hearing and were deported to Mexico. The other four were released and will go before an immigration judge in the near future.

ICE spokesperson Carl Rusnok said these cases are all "lead generated" by people who observe possible illegal activity and contact officials. The investigation is continuing, and the contractor may face criminal charges. [Associated Press 5/25/07; KTRV FOX 12 (Boise, ID) 6/4/07; Mail Tribune (Medford,OR) 5/27/07; KTVB News (Boise), 5/23/07]


Early on June 6, ICE agents arrested 29 men and two women in the Fair Haven neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, in a raid targeting people who had previously been ordered deported by immigration judges. City officials said on June 7 that only four of the people arrested were named on ICE warrants; another 12 warrants went unserved. Most of those arrested were from Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Guinea.

Lawyers and advocates for immigrants who interviewed relatives of the detainees said that in most cases, immigration officials knocked on their doors and demanded to speak with every adult in the house, then asked for identification. In several cases, agents separated the men from the women and asked which of the women had children. Those who said they did were left behind, advocates said.

New Haven officials questioned the timing of the raid, which came two days after the city's Board of Aldermen approved the creation of municipal ID cards that could be used by out-of-status immigrants to open bank accounts and access city services. Paula Grenier, a spokesperson for the ICE office in Boston, insisted the arrests were part of a routine fugitive operation that was not associated with the aldermen's vote, but Mayor John DeStefano wasn't convinced: "Now there are in America 11,000 cities, towns and villages, but somehow, by some act of circumstance or coincidence, within 36 hours, the response was in New Haven," he said.

New Haven already had a "safe haven" policy barring local police from inquiring about immigration status. City police did not assist with the ICE raid, said Jessica Mayorga, a spokesperson for DeStefano. "There is truly no safe haven for fugitive aliens," said ICE spokesperson Marc Raimondi. [AP 6/6/07; Yale Daily News 6/6/07; New York Times 6/8/07]

On June 14, 15 of the arrested New Haven residents appeared in federal immigration court, where an immigration judge determined that they will remain in federal custody. Two were held on $25,000 bonds, while most of the rest were held on $15,000 bonds. Attorneys and law students from Yale and the University of Connecticut said they would return to court on June 20 to argue for lower bonds, based on the detainees' community ties, family commitments and other factors showing they would be unlikely to flee if released.

The attorneys also plan to present evidence that immigration agents entered homes without authorization, refused to identify themselves and detained people passing by on the street who "appear to have been singled out because of their appearance," said Michael Wishnie, a Yale law professor who is representing most of those arrested. Two women held in a Boston facility had their bonds reduced to $1,500 and $3,500 during a hearing on June 13, and expected to post those bonds the next day, Wishnie said. The four people who were arrested on warrants for having been previously ordered deported are not eligible for bond and could be deported at any time, Wishnie said. The other arrestees are being held in facilities in Boston and Greenfield, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; and Cumberland County, Maine.

At least 40 supporters of the detainees rallied on June 14 outside the courthouse in Hartford, Connecticut. Groups of businesses, churches and community groups in greater New Haven also pledged to raise money to help meet the defendants' bonds and the needs of their families. Several city restaurants are giving 10 percent of their proceeds from business on June 14 to a fund to help the detainees, supporters said. A larger rally was set for June 16. [Stamford Advocate 6/14/07 from AP; Hartford Courant 6/15/07] Supporters also organized a protest June 7, the day after the raids, gathering in front of St. Rose of Lima Church and marching through Fair Haven. [Email announcement 6/5/07]


On June 12, more than 150 ICE agents executed search and arrest warrants at three sites in Portland connected with the Fresh Del Monte company and its Portland fruit and vegetable processing facility, arresting about 165 workers and three managers. Searches were carried out at two offices of American Staffing Resources Inc, a US recruitment company responsible for staffing at the Portland Fresh Del Monte plant. A search warrant was also executed at the Fresh Del Monte office within the plant. As part of the criminal investigation, a federal grand jury in Portland has returned indictments against three individuals alleging immigration, document fraud, and identity theft offenses.

The raid culminated an investigation that began in January 2007 with an undercover operation at American Staffing Resources and Fresh Del Monte. ICE says the staffing agency supplied workers with fake or bad social security numbers so they could work at the plant. Federal agents found that only 48 of the 596 employees had valid Social Security numbers. Another 463 were using someone else's number; 85 used invalid numbers; and four used numbers of someone previously deported. [Cayman Net News 6/15/07; ICE News Release 6/12/07; (Seattle) 6/16/07; The Oregonian 6/12/07]

Fresh Del Monte is an international company based in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; while it uses the Del Monte brand, is a separate entity from the Del Monte Foods Company. Fresh Del Monte employs more than 37,000 employees worldwide, and has 25 facilities in the US. In 2006 they hired about 3,000 temporary workers, many of them in the Portland factory. [Cayman Net News 6/15/07]

Officials say the raid was based on a federal investigation that began in January. But a local attorney and professor who represented Del Monte workers in a class-action lawsuit against the company says it was revenge. A state investigation found that eight workers were fired after complaining about safety problems. "This was a publicized settlement where immigration officials were aware that there was this group of workers who had complained about workplace violations and this is the first plant they go after in Oregon--I think it's more than coincidence," Keith Cunningham-Parmeter told KOIN News 6. [KOIN News 6 (Portland) 6/13/07]

On June 16, nearly 100 people, including friends and family members of the arrested workers, protested the raid with a demonstration at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, where federal officials say 131 of the arrested workers were to be taken after being processed at an ICE facility in Tukwila, Washington. About 30 other workers were processed and released on humanitarian concerns with an order of supervision and a notice to appear in front of an immigration judge. Immigrant rights supporters also held a protest the same day of the raid, June 12, at the federal building in downtown Portland. [ (Seattle) 6/16/07; The Oregonian 6/12/07]

Portland mayor Tom Potter issued a statement condeming the raids: "I am angered by this morning's arrest by federal officers of approximately 150 Portland residents who were working at a local produce company. ... [T]o go after local workers who are here to support their families while filling the demands of local businesses for their labor is bad policy. It also serves as a reminder of the failure of our national leaders to deliver an immigration policy that is both fair and humane to families and acknowledges the economic realities of our country." Potter clarified that no Portland police officers participated in the raid. [Potter Statement 6/12/07] Potter spokesperson John Doussard did say that the city's police bureau had been given a heads-up about the raids. [AP 6/13/07]


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