Sunday, November 30, 2008

INB 11/30/08: Raids Protested in Minnesota, Michigan

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 29 - November 30, 2008

1. Another South Dakota Dairy Raided
2. Raids Protested in Minnesota, Michigan
3. More "Fugitive" Raids: Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, PA, DE, NJ, NY
4. New Indictment in Agriprocessors Case
5. South Carolina Poultry Workers Plead Guilty

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On Nov. 21, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested five Latin American immigrant workers at a dairy farm near Hamlin County, South Dakota. According to officials from ICE and the Hamlin County Sheriff's office, four of the five workers face criminal identity theft charges for using social security numbers that were not their own to get jobs at the farm. The fifth worker, a woman, was taken into ICE custody on administrative immigration violations. Sheriff Dan Mack said the investigation began when the people tried to register vehicles with false Social Security numbers. [KELOLAND TV (Sioux Falls, SD) 11/24/08; AP 11/27/08 with info from the Watertown Public Opinion] The latest raid came less than a month after an Oct. 29 operation in which ICE agents arrested 27 people at several dairy farms in northeastern South Dakota [see INB 11/2/08].


On Oct. 24, about 60 people demonstrated in Minneapolis to protest a recent ICE sweep through southern Minnesota. The demonstration was called by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition. [The Militant Vol. 72/No. 44, 11/10/08] From Oct. 21 to 23, ICE Fugitive Operations Team members arrested 17 people in southern Minnesota's Watonwan County: 10 in the town of Madelia, five in St. James and one each in Butterfield and Lewisville. ICE also arrested two people in Windom, the county seat of neighboring Cottonwood County. Four of the 19 people arrested had been deported previously; five had prior criminal convictions. All 19 were from Latin American countries: 11 were from Mexico, six were from Honduras and one each were from Guatemala and El Salvador. [ICE News Release 10/24/08] ICE spokesperson Tim Counts said six of the 19 people arrested were "fugitives" who had failed to comply with deportation orders; the other 13 were not being sought but were encountered during the sweep. Counts said several children were among those arrested; "This was because the immigration judge had ordered the entire family deported," he explained. [Minnesota Public Radio 10/24/08] Witnesses to the raids saw ICE agents knocking on the doors of neighboring homes and stopping and questioning people who were not specifically being sought. [The Militant Vol. 72/No. 44, 11/10/08]

In Lansing, Michigan, a group calling itself the No Human Is Illegal Network has formed in response to an ICE sweep that took place in October. The group seeks to educate people about how immigration raids are separating families. About 25 people gathered on Nov. 20 at the East Lansing Public Library for an event to raise awareness about the situation and also to raise money for the families affected by the raids. Immigrants "come here because they just want to work," said Maximo Anguiano, a retired Lansing firefighter and member of the No Human Is Illegal Network. "And most of them pay taxes." [Lansing State Journal 11/21/08] ICE agents arrested 64 people between Oct. 17 and Oct. 20 in the Lansing area; 40 were "fugitives" who had failed to comply with deportation orders, while the other 24 were found to be present in the US without permission. [Michigan Messenger 10/24/08] The raids took place at the El Azteco restaurant in East Lansing and at an apartment building where undocumented workers were living, according to an article in the Lansing City Pulse. [Lansing City Pulse 11/5/08]


In a five-day operation that ended Nov. 21, ICE agents arrested 104 people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Among those arrested were 94 "fugitives" who had failed to comply with deportation orders. Of the 104 people arrested, 23 had prior criminal convictions. [ICE News Release 11/25/08]

In Florida, ICE arrested 71 immigrants in a five-day operation that ended Nov. 21. Sixty were "fugitives"; 18 had criminal histories. ICE agents arrested 33 people in Miami-Dade; 17 in Broward; five in Palm Beach; seven in Orlando and nine in Tampa. ICE released 21 people under supervision as part of the Alternatives to Detention Program because they were verified to be sole caregivers or had medical concerns. The other 49 people were being detained by ICE. Those arrested came from countries including Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Peru, Cuba, Honduras, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Jamaica, El Salvador, Bangladesh, Uruguay, and Belgium. [ICE News Release 11/26/08]

Between Nov. 19 and 22, ICE agents worked with federal, state and local officials to arrest 80 people in the Prescott, Sedona and Flagstaff areas of north central Arizona. Only 14 of the 80 people arrested were "fugitives" who had ignored final deportation orders or who had returned to the US after being deported. Two of the 80 people arrested had criminal records. Most of those arrested were from Mexico; some were from Guatemala. The sweep was carried out by an interagency task force led by ICE. The other agencies participating in the raids were the US Marshals Service, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and the Prescott Valley, Sedona and Prescott police departments. [News Release from ICE & Yavapai County Sheriff's Office 11/24/08]

From Oct. 14 to Oct. 26, ICE fugitive operations teams based in Philadelphia arrested 99 immigrants in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Only 37 of those arrested were "fugitives" who had failed to comply with deportation; 14 of them had criminal records. The other 62 people were picked up for being out of status; 27 of them had criminal records. In New Jersey during the same Oct. 14-26 period, ICE arrested 145 "fugitives" (including 65 with criminal records) and 44 out-of-status immigrants (including 22 with criminal histories). In New York City, ICE agents arrested 90 "fugitives" (including 46 with criminal histories) and six other out-of-status immigrants (all with criminal histories) over the same period. [ICE News Release 10/27/08]


In a 12-count indictment issued Nov. 20 and unsealed Nov. 21 in US District Court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the former CEO and three managers of the Agriprocessors kosher meat company were charged with new counts in connection with the hiring of unauthorized workers at the company's plant in Postville, Iowa. The case is based on allegations that a top manager provided cash for workers to obtain false documents and that lower level supervisors helped employees get new paperwork [see INB 11/16/08].

The new indictment includes three defendants who haven't previously faced federal charges in the case: operations manager Brent Beebe and poultry managers Hosam Amara and Zeev Levi. Beebe, Amara and Levi are each charged with conspiracy to harbor unauthorized immigrants for profit, harboring unauthorized immigrants for profit, conspiracy to commit document fraud and aiding and abetting document fraud. Beebe is also charged with six counts and Amara and Levi with one count each of identity theft, according to the indictment. Beebe was arrested on Nov. 21 at the Postville plant and pleaded not guilty in court the same day. Beebe's trial has been scheduled for Jan. 20, and he has been placed under travel restrictions and fitted with an electronic monitoring device that prohibit him from leaving Iowa. Warrants have been issued for Amara and Levi; their whereabouts are unknown.

Former CEO Sholom Rubashkin is charged in the new indictment with harboring unauthorized immigrants for profit and conspiracy to commit document fraud. He was previously charged with conspiracy to harbor unauthorized immigrants for profit, aiding and abetting document fraud, six counts of aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft and two counts of bank fraud. Also included in the new indictment is human resource employee Karina Freund, who faces a new charge of conspiracy to harbor unauthorized immigrants for profit. She was previously charged with harboring. Rubashkin and Freund have a trial date set for Jan. 20. Freund has been released with an electronic monitoring device. On Nov. 20, US Magistrate Judge Jon S. Scoles ordered Rubashkin detained without bail until trial. [The Gazette (Cedar Rapids)11/21/08; AP 11/21/08; ICE News Release 11/21/08]


On Nov. 19 in Greenville, South Carolina, 12 immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras pleaded guilty in federal court to immigration and identity fraud charges in connection with an federal investigation into hiring practices at the Columbia Farms poultry plant in Greenville [see INB 9/7/08, 10/21/08]. Those pleading guilty on Nov. 19 included Nain Zarate-Camarero and Victor Cruz-Soto, who were arrested outside the plant in July. Three workers who pleaded guilty on Nov. 19 to misusing social security numbers were among 331 people arrested in an Oct. 7 raid of the plant. Seven former plant workers pleaded guilty on Nov. 19 to reentering the US illegally after having been previously deported. [Greenville News 11/20/08]


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