Saturday, August 23, 2008

INB 8/23/08: Deport Flight to Southeast Asia; Hawaii Construction Raid

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 20 - August 23, 2008

1. Deport Flight to Southeast Asia
2. Construction Raid in Hawai'i
3. ICE Steps Up "Anti-Gang" Raids

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 posted at


In a charter flight that left on Aug. 12 from Seattle, Washington, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported 106 people--including eight women--to Indonesia, Philippines and Cambodia. The 49 Filipinos, 44 Indonesians and 13 Cambodians were taken from different locations around the US to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington in preparation for the flight. The deportees included 46 people with criminal convictions. ICE officers and medical staff with the Division of Immigration Health Services accompanied the flight, along with consular officials from the countries involved.

The flight was arranged by ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO). It was the US government's second deportation flight to Indonesia; the first left Yuma, Arizona on Apr. 8. That flight took 123 deportees to Pampanga, Philippines and Jakarta, Indonesia on Apr. 10 [see INB 4/20/08]. [ICE News Release 8/14/08]


On Aug. 20, ICE agents arrested 22 unauthorized immigrant workers at the construction site of the Honua Kai Resort luxury condominium project on Kaanapali Beach on the island of Maui in Hawai'i. The site was shut down for a few hours as more than a dozen federal agents and Maui police officers barricaded and searched the area.
According to ICE spokesperson Lori Haley, those arrested included one woman and 21 men; Haley said 15 people, including the woman, are Mexican nationals, four are Brazilian, one is Guatemalan, one is Honduran and one is Peruvian. The workers were taken to the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu to be processed for removal. [Maui News 8/22/08; Pacific Business News 8/22/08] The Honolulu Advertiser reported that the arrested Mexicans in the group numbered 16, including the woman, and that the total number of workers arrested was 23. [Honolulu Advertiser 8/23/08]

Haley said the arrests were part of a continuing investigation targeting Global Stone Inc., a subcontractor at the site. The general contractor on the condominium project, Ledcor Construction, based in Honolulu, issued a written statement on Aug. 21 saying that none of the detained workers were employed by Ledcor, and that the company "received assurances from the subcontractors that they were in compliance with all federal, state and local laws."

"Ledcor supports Immigration and Customs Enforcement efforts to solve this national problem," Ledcore vice president Eric Tessem said in the statement. [Maui News 8/22/08]

More than 80 unauthorized immigrants have been arrested over the past month in Hawai'i, and the arrests will continue, announced Ed Kubo, US Attorney for the District of Hawaii, at an Aug. 22 press conference with representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the state's Sheriff's Department, US Marshall's Office and the Coast Guard. "We are drawing a line in our sand," Kubo said. "Hawai'i has always been known for our aloha and acceptance of everyone, but there will be no aloha for those who lie, cheat and steal from us." [Honolulu Advertiser 8/23/08]

"[W]ithin the last two weeks approximately 41 undocumented workers have been arrested by our agents on the island of Maui and near [the Honua Kai Resort] project, of which 28 of them were confirmed as actually working at Honua Kai," said Kubo. [KHON (Honolulu) 8/22/08]

Kubo said further investigations will target industries including agriculture, federal contractors, tourism, restaurants and construction. "Our investigators will be increasing the tempo of these investigations and are looking at all types of work sites to uncover these violations," said Kubo. "[I]f you are illegally working here in the state, or if you are knowingly hiring illegal aliens you better keep looking over your shoulders because we are coming," Kubo warned. [HA 8/23/08; KITV (Honolulu) 8/22/08; KHON 8/22/08]

Kubo said that 23 of the 43 Mexican workers arrested in a July 20 raid on an apartment building in Waipahu have been charged with knowingly using a fraudulent green card, using a fraudulent Social Security number and possessing a fraudulent green card. [HA 8/23/08] At the Honolulu federal courthouse on Aug. 21, several of the 23 were ordered held without bail. [KITV 8/22/08] The July 20 raid targeted agricultural workers employed by The Farms Inc., based in Kunia. [see INB 8/10/08] Attorney Dax Deason, representing The Farms, said "there are no charges against the company, we feel that we haven't violated any federal laws, and have followed all rules and regulations." [HA 8/23/08]


From Aug. 11 to 16, agents arrested 42 foreign nationals in an ICE-led operation targeting street gangs in the metropolitan area of Salt Lake City, Utah. The sweep was carried out with the assistance of the US Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Attorney's Office, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Salt Lake City and Midvale police departments. One of the arrested immigrants was from Guatemala, one was from Honduras, three were from El Salvador and the rest were from Mexico. Of the total 42 people arrested, 10 face federal charges for reentry after deportation; one faces federal charges for illegal possession of a firearm; and 11 others are being prosecuted on state charges. The remaining 20 people were arrested on administrative immigration violations.

According to ICE, another 73 foreign national gang members were arrested over the previous weeks in similar multi-agency operations in Provo (29 arrests), Ogden (28 arrests) and St. George (16 arrests). [ICE News Release 8/18/08]

Between July 28 and Aug. 9, a total of 50 people were arrested in an ICE-led anti-gang operation through the metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Most of the arrests were in the Twin Cities, but some were in Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Columbia Heights, Crystal, Maplewood, Richfield and West St. Paul. The sweep was conducted in partnership with the Metro Gang Strike Force with support from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the police departments of Brooklyn Park and Richfield.

ICE said 35 of those arrested were gang members, seven were "gang associates" and the other eight were immigrants with no known gang affiliation who were in violation of immigration law. According to ICE, 29 Mexicans, six Hondurans, two Salvadorans and an Ecuadoran were placed in deportation proceedings, while 10 US citizens and two US permanent residents were arrested on various state and federal charges. Three people were referred to the US Attorney's Office in Minneapolis for criminal prosecution: two for reentering the US after having been deported; one for possessing a controlled substance. [ICE News Release 8/14/08]

On July 24, ICE agents and officers from the Yonkers Narcotics and Gang Unit raided six locations in Yonkers, New York, just north of New York City. Agents arrested five people accused of belonging to three Mexican gangs. New Rochelle police, ICE agents and Westchester County Probation officers arrested another two people in New Rochelle. All were taken into federal custody. [Journal News (Westchester) 7/26/08]

From July 22 to 24, ICE agents arrested 17 out-of-status immigrants in an operation targeting foreign-born people with alleged gang ties in the area of Omaha, Nebraska. One arrest was made across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa; the other 16 arrests were in Omaha. Those arrested were 15 Mexicans, one Salvadoran and one Honduran. According to ICE, eight of those arrested are gang members and four are "gang associates." The other five are immigrants with no known gang affiliations. Eleven of the people arrested had prior criminal convictions; three had reentered the US after having been deported. Six of the 17 were referred to the US Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska, for possible criminal prosecution. One was referred to the US Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa, for prosecution. ICE was assisted in the operation by the ATF, Nebraska State Patrol and the police departments of Omaha and Bellevue. [ICE News Release 7/25/08]

From July 14 to 20, a total of 81 people were arrested in an ICE-led enforcement operation targeting gang members in San Diego County, California. The sweep was carried out by more than 20 ICE agents, assisted by officers from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the Escondido Police Department. [ICE News Release 7/22/08; North County Times 7/22/08] Arrests were made in Fallbrook, San Marcos, Vista, Poway, Escondido and northern San Diego, said Miguel Unzueta, special agent in charge of ICE investigations in San Diego. According to Lt. Bob Benton, spokesperson for the Escondido Police Department, 13 people were arrested in Escondido. [NCT 7/22/08] Some 60 officers took part in the operation in Fallbrook on July 19; 28 people were arrested. Nine were handed over to ICE for deportation, and ICE holds were placed on a few other arrestees. An additional 22 people were cited for local violations and released. [Fallbrook Village News 7/24/08]

According to ICE, the 81 people arrested in the San Diego County sweeps included 38 "gang members or gang associates" and 43 "criminal aliens" who were either present in the US without permission, or were legal residents whose criminal offenses made them eligible for deportation. The North County Times reported that the 43 "criminal aliens" included two US citizens who were arrested for non-immigration-related offenses. Six Mexican nationals, including one woman, have been charged in federal court for reentering the US after having been deported. Nine other people arrested during the operation are facing state prosecution. Most of those arrested were taken into custody on administrative immigration violations. [ICE News Release 7/22/08; North County Times 7/22/08]

From July 13 to 16, ICE agents working with local law enforcement officers arrested 49 people in an operation targeting foreign-born gang members in the northern and northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. According to ICE, 47 of the 49 were gang members or associates, while two had no known gang affiliations but were present in the US without permission; 42 had criminal histories. One of the 49 was Guatemalan; the others were Mexican. Among those arrested was one permanent resident whose criminal convictions make him eligible for deportation, said ICE. Nine of those arrested had reentered the US after having been deported. ICE was assisted in the operation by the ATF; the sheriffs' departments of Cook, Boone, DuPage and Winnebago Counties; and the police departments of Addison, Belvidere, Bensenville, Elgin, Franklin Park, Harvard, Mt. Prospect, West Chicago, Wheeling and Woodstock. [ICE News Release 7/18/08]

From July 11 to 16, ICE agents arrested 28 immigrants in an anti-gang operation in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Those arrested included 15 "transnational gang members" and 13 people with no known gang affiliation but who were deportable, said ICE, either because they have criminal convictions or are present in the US without permission. One of the 28 was from Nigeria, one was from El Salvador and the others were from Mexico. In addition, 17 US citizen gang members were arrested on state warrants or criminal charges and turned over to local authorities. ICE was assisted in the operation by the FBI, the Oklahoma Alcohol Beverage Law Enforcement Commission (ABLE), the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office and the Tulsa Police Department. [ICE News Release 7/17/08]


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