Skip to comments.Border Patrol arrests disputed
Posted on 06/26/2004 7:26:01 AM PDT by sixmil
Recent U.S. Border Patrol arrests of undocumented immigrants in San Bernardino County this month did not follow procedures of the Department of Homeland Security, eight congressmen learned Friday.
As a result, the department is reviewing the operations of the newly formed Mobile Patrol Group at the border patrol station in Temecula, which has arrested more than 420 people in interior operations this month, said Suzanne Luber, a spokeswoman for the department.
Such operations in the future will be reviewed and authorized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington, D.C., Luber said.
In a private meeting, Asa Hutchinson, the department's undersecretary for border and transportation security, told the Southern California lawmakers about the flawed arrests, including 79 in Ontario on June 4, and 75 from Corona on June 5.
Hutchinson expects to send a ``thorough, written response'' early next week to those members of Congress, Luber said.
``He also told them while the U.S. Border Patrol activities in Temecula were within the statutory authority of the law, there was not an appropriate headquarters review and approval prior to the beginning of the operations,'' she said. ``With interior enforcement, the procedure is that the operation needs to be evaluated prior to their start, and should receive approval from headquarters' level. In this situation, that procedure was not followed.''
Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, who was among those who met with Hutchinson Friday, said he was pleased that the undersecretary responded to his concerns so quickly.
``I'm glad that a resolution was found to this crisis,'' Baca said in a written statement issued by his office. ``This was not an issue of immigration. This was an issue of agencies following the procedures that are laid out for them in order to protect the security of all residents. It was an issue of not targeting people for crimes based on the color of their skin, or the language they speak.''
Luber described the Temecula unit's actions as a coordination problem and not a disciplinary one since no laws were violated.
Formerly, when the U.S. Border Patrol was under the U.S. Department of Justice, agents did not need headquarters approval to do interior operations, she said. That changed, however, after the creation of Homeland Security in March 2003.
Interior immigration enforcement, she said, is typically the role of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a separate entity that also falls under the Department of Homeland Security.
Luber said she did not know whether interior border patrol arrests like those that have recently occurred would be approved in the future.
When the Temecula station redeployed personnel to form the mobile patrol group, the San Diego Sector Border Patrol chief granted local approval to conduct roving patrol duties, said Gloria Chavez, a Washington, D.C. based spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Since the agents have had some roving patrol duties previously and since the unit's actions were not considered a special operation, no headquarters approval was sought, she said.
Approval for such operations, however, will be sought in the future, Chavez said.
During the mass arrests, immigrants were reportedly detained on the streets, outside Latino markets and while getting off buses. More than half of the arrests have taken place in the area of Escondido.
Border Patrol officials have said that the mobile patrol, which was formed within the past few months, does not reflect a change in policy, but is the result of the freeing up of manpower at the Temecula station.
Border Patrol agents have said they have received numerous phone calls and e-mails in support of their actions. Immigrant support groups say that the arrests have sparked fear in their communities, resulting in poor attendance in schools and decreased business in some areas.
In a written statement, Rep. Hilda Solis, D-El Monte, who also attended Friday's meeting, said she hoped that ``we will continue to be informed of their operations which should be focused on criminal immigrants instead of hardworking immigrants.''
"operations which should be focused on criminal immigrants instead of hardworking immigrants."
I believe being an illegal immigrant constitutes criminal activity no matter how hard you work.
Immigration-sweep rumors unfounded, officials insist
By DONNA JONES
Sentinel staff writer
Mexican Consul General Bruno Figueroa flatly denied Thursday that U.S. immigration authorities are conducting sweeps in Santa Cruz County.
Figueroas comments, during a morning press conference at City Hall, came after days of fear and increasing anger in the citys Latino community about rumored raids by "la migra," slang for immigration.
The event also featured an array of elected officials or their representatives, community activists and religious leaders, who urged residents who have avoided going out in public in recent days to return to normal activities.
"There are no immigrant sweeps or roundups in this part of California," Figueroa said. "There has not been a single case of a person being detained on the street just because of a lack of documents."
Though his San Jose office has received calls about the random raids, it has been unable to substantiate any, he said. He believes the rumors are based on recent highly publicized sweeps in Southern California.
If any Mexican citizen had been picked up by immigration and deported, he would have to be informed because he has to confirm the detainees citizenship before they can be sent home, Figueroa said.
Alec Arago, speaking for Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, said the congressman has checked with immigration authorities and been assured no random searches and detentions are occurring on the Central Coast. Nor have any witnesses come forward to tell the congressmans office that a friend or family member had been taken.
Despite reassurances, uncertainty lingered.
City Councilwoman Ana Ventura Phares said she didnt know what to think, after listening to a woman tell Figueroa about an alleged incident in Santa Cruz.
Speaking during the conference, Douglas Keegan, director of the Watsonville-based Santa Cruz County Immigration Project, expressed his frustration at the impact of the rumors, and the inability to pin them down.
"Whoever is spreading these rumors, or conducting the raids, show your face," he urged. "What you are doing is cowardly. Whoever is doing this needs to be held accountable."
Thursday afternoon Keegan said he felt reassured by immigration authorities denial of involvement to Farrs office and the consulate, and by seeing officials and community leaders coming together to express their concern.
But he remains uneasy, he said, over continued reports, and worries that someone might be masquerading as law enforcement officers for reasons unknown. He said hed like to see an investigation by law enforcement.
Ken Smith of Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action, a coalition of Santa Cruz and Monterey county churches and community groups, arranged the event. He said everyone at the conference is committed to ensuring immigration authorities respect the rights and dignity of individuals.
"Our belief is random immigration checks, which cause fear and intimidation, are unwarranted and unacceptable policy in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties," he said.
Smith and others urged people not to let the rumors interfere with their lives.
"People are suffering, especially kids and people who havent been going to health appointments," said Jesus Fernandez of the Center for Community Advocacy. "Its very important that we need to continue with our daily lives and not be intimidated."
Contact Donna Jones at email@example.com.
And future Democrat voters. That is the most important fact for the Democrats and the Republican Asa.
The local blow torch down here (KFI) is reporting that there are people posing as immigration officers and taking money from illegals to not arrest them. Between this, the body smuggling, drugs and prostitution, you'd think they'd start enforcing the law before things get any worse. It's really getting 3rd down here with the open borders policy.
That sums up the attitude around here; INS just looks the other way. Any given morning they COULD pick up 50 to 100 illegals hanging out at the KMart parking lot. But they don't.
Is he here illegally?
Yes, he's very legal, and so are his workers. I'm adamant on that and so is HE!
We're being sold out by the elected officials of both parties, and this sellout begins at the White House.
So who was going to pay for these health appointments??? They've got hospitals, clinics, and doctors in Mexico --- they can get to one as soon as they get back home.
Flawed? Flawed would mean they deported some native-born Americans along with the illegals but I bet that no one got deported who wasn't a citizen of Mexico.
They've deported a few of my neighbors recently but they came right back and they didn't seem very traumatized by it.
I would love to find workers like that in L.A.
My next project (after I locate where I put the URL for it) is going to be printing out the instructions for employers to make use of the employee verification system the feds have. Then I'm mailing them out to selected businesses. Maybe they'll take the hint.
Is it William J. Bush or George W Clinton who's in the White House now? I can't seem to keep this one straight.
1000 PERCENT AGREEMENT bump.
And they are in charge of the US's immigration policy.
Bush, Ridge and Hutchinson
So "hard working" criminal illegals ....( I refuse to call them immigrants as that is a legal term IMO).... are exempt from the socialist polidiots list....seditious bastards.
Stay safe and shoot a water cache on the border near you....
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.