ICE deals CA another low blow

ICE officers have been rampaging through the Coachella Valley in CA. An unspecified number of people have disappeared- See the news below: Nicole C. Brambila The Desert Sun May 10, 2007  

Since Tuesday, immigration officers have rounded up an unspecified number of undocumented immigrants as part of a weeklong Coachella Valley sting.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials would not discuss the number of executed warrants, the nationality of the immigrants apprehended or how many of those arrested were criminal aliens.

But witnesses have spotted plain-clothed agents at businesses in Cathedral City and conducting random stops along Cooke Street and Monterey Avenue, an area where day laborers are said to gather.

Immigration attorneys The Desert Sun has spoken with have called the sweeps disturbing and illegal.

“This stinks of racial profiling,” said Nora Preciado, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Los Angeles.

ICE officials contend they are operating lawfully. The following is the full text of an email sent to The Desert Sun Thursday:

“As Jim Hayes and I explained yesterday, fugitive operations are targeted arrests of immigration fugitives based on leads and intelligence -- individuals who have received final orders of deportation by an immigration judge but have failed to comply.

“The Department of Homeland Security has an ambitious, multi-year national plan to shore up our borders and reduce illegal immigration. A key element of that plan is stepped up interior enforcement, including expanded efforts to identify and arrest immigration fugitives - that is aliens who are ordered deported and willfully ignore those orders. The strategy also includes streamlining the deportation process to maximze our resources. Under this initiative, ICE is dedicating unprecedented resources to identifying and arresting criminal aliens and immigration fugitives. There are currently 52 fugitive operations teams deployed nationwide. By the end of this year, that number is expected to reach 75.

“With regard to our enforcement mission, ICE's fugitive operations teams nationwide prioritize cases involving criminal aliens and immigration fugitives, but our officers also periodically encounter other immigration violators while carrying out their duties. In those instances, ICE officers take appropriate enforcement action.

“ICE officers do not enter a residence without consent. Once consent is granted to enter the residence, officers seek to identify persons in the home to see if the target is there. Once in the house, officers may check goverment issued identification documents and conduct interviews to determine status

“ICE is committed to restoring integrity to our nation's immigration system. People who are arrested for being in the United States illegally have a right to due process. They have an opportunity to go into immigration court and fight their deportation. But if they lose, they should accept the court's ruling and comply with the removal order.

“And finally, the public needs to remember that those who are this country in violation of our immigration laws are subject to arrest at any time. We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws.”

Lori K. Haley, ICE spokeswoman

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