Sunday, July 29, 2007

INB 7/29/07: Dallas Raids, Arizona Border Deaths

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 10, No. 19 - July 29, 2007

1. Hundreds Arrested in Dallas Area Raids
2. More Border Deaths in Arizona

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From July 16 to 20, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 274 immigrants in the area of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Those arrested included 233 men, 28 women and 13 children, said ICE spokesperson Carl Rusnok. Of the 274, 99 had criminal convictions. Most of the arrests happened at homes. ICE did not say how many of those arrested were being sought, but did confirm that "some" of those taken into custody were simply discovered in the raided homes and were unable to prove they were here legally. "Many of these individuals are in the wrong place at the wrong time, many live together," said Nuria T. Prendes, field office director for ICE's Office of Detention and Removal Operations. Police in Dallas, Irving, Fort Worth, Arlington, Farmers Branch, Carrollton and Blue Mound, along with the Dallas County constable, helped agents in the operation, according to an ICE statement.

Those arrested were from Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nigeria, Romania and South Korea. By the end of the five-day operation, 137 of the Mexicans arrested had already been returned to Mexico; the other people who were arrested were awaiting deportation proceedings, ICE said. The minors taken into custody could have left voluntarily, if they were from Mexico, or released to a guardian, ICE officials said. Unaccompanied minors would be turned over to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. [AP 7/20/07; ICE News Release 7/20/07; Dallas Morning News 7/21/07]

This past April, ICE arrested 148 immigrants in the Dallas area, including seven children. Only 41 of the 148 had been accused of crimes. [DMN 7/21/07]

In a seven-day operation that ended on the morning of July 23, ICE agents working in partnership with other federal and local law enforcement agencies arrested 121 people described as members of violent street gangs in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Some of those arrested were named on warrants. Some are being presented to the US Attorney's Office for federal prosecution on felony charges of re-entering the US after having already been deported. The arrests were part of "Operation Community Shield," a national ICE program targeting gang members. In a news release, ICE claimed it has arrested more than 4,500 gang members nationwide; those arrested are then either prosecuted criminally or removed from the US through immigration proceedings, says ICE.

Law enforcement agencies that participated in the Dallas area operation include: the US Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the FBI; the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BoP); Fort Worth Police Department; Dallas Police Department; Irving Police Department; Farmers Branch Police Department; Arlington Police Department; and Wichita Falls Police Department. [ICE News Release 7/23/07]


Early on July 15, a man waved down agents from the Border Patrol's Tucson sector patrolling near Arizona highway 289 and told them his brother was sick and convulsing. Agents found the man nearby, unresponsive; they called paramedics, but the man was pronounced dead before he could be airlifted to a medical center. He was identified as Omar Lopez Mendiola of Iztapalapa, Mexico.

Early on July 16, Border Patrol agents working on the Tohono O'odham Reservation found a dead woman lying on the side of the road. Identification on the body indicated she was an 18-year-old from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. The body was to be transported to the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office. [Arizona Daily Star 7/17/07]

On July 18, an agent with the Shadow Wolves, an elite group of Native American trackers who patrol Tohono O'odham Nation land for ICE, found a dead woman from the central Mexican state of Queretaro. She was found with four other border crossers who survived, including her 10-year old son and a man who had placed a 911 call seeking help, prompting a Border Patrol search for the group. [ADS 7/19/07] The woman was identified as Maria Resendiz Perez. [ADS 7/20/07] Late on July 17 and early on July 18, border agents found the decomposed bodies of two presumed migrants at two different sites in the Tucson sector. [ADS 7/19/07]

On July 19--the 37th straight day of 100-degree temperatures in the Tucson area--a 10-year-old Guatemalan boy found walking about a half mile north of the border told a Border Patrol agent that his mother had died. An agent of Borstar, the agency's search, trauma and rescue unit, backtracked and found the body of the boy's mother's on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. [ADS 7/20/07]

On July 20, a Border Patrol agent patrolling Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument encountered the body of a Mexican man. The next morning, July 21, the owner of Atascosa Ranch, near Peck Canyon about 13 miles north of the border, found the body of Jose Armando Martinez Miranda of Sinaloa, Mexico. Later the same day, an agent found skeletal remains south of Milepost 13 on Arivaca Road. On July 22, the Border Patrol found two decomposing bodies south of Why on Arizona 85.

The Border Patrol has recovered at least 24 bodies in the Tucson Sector in July, bringing its fiscal-year total to at least 140. The number of border deaths is higher, according to records kept by the Pima and Cochise counties' medical examiners. Combined, those agencies had handled 184 bodies of illegal border crossers from Oct. 1 through July 23. [ADS 7/24/07]


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