Skip to comments.Vigilantes behind immigration raids?[Austin, Texas]
Posted on 05/01/2006 4:42:08 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch
As federal officials keep silent on rumors, Austin officials question whether groups impersonating officers are terrorizing residents.
With widespread reports of immigration raids in Austin multiplying and federal officials refusing to say whether the rumors are true, city and immigrant rights leaders Friday raised the possibility that vigilantes might be impersonating law enforcement officers and terrorizing immigrants and citizens.
At a City Hall news conference, they called on government officials to be open about information that might help explain the numerous raid reports sweeping Austin and the region.
"I think everyone just wants answers," Council Member Raul Alvarez said. "If it isn't the government doing it, who's to say it's not some other group that's doing this and is potentially violating the rights of our citizens?"
But a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday that the agency remained steadfast in its position of never commenting on its operations as a consideration of officer and public safety.
"That's just policy," Nina Pruneda said.
A written statement from the agency said individuals have the right to ask for identification if approached by a law enforcement officer and should call 911 and ask for police assistance if they are suspicious.
"To report suspicious activity to ICE, call 1-866-DHS-2ICE," the statement said.
Austin police, meanwhile, said they had not heard of reports that vigilantes might be impersonating officers.
The immigrant rights leaders who joined Alvarez and former Mayor Gus Garcia at Friday's news conference said continued reports led them to raise the possibility that vigilantes are behind the raids.
The leaders said they continued to field numerous firsthand accounts from sources that they deem credible about immigration raids at construction sites, store parking lots and in neighborhoods.
The reports have created a climate of fear among illegal immigrants who fear being arrested and separated from their families and from their children who are U.S. citizens.
"I can't have that many accounts of raids from very reliable people and then be told that nothing is happening," said the Rev. Lydia Hernandez of Manos de Cristo in Austin, which provides dental care, clothing and food to the poor.
Hernandez said some reports have described immigration agents knocking on apartment doors and taking people away.
"The question is, who's doing it," Garcia said. "We want to know who's doing it, where are they doing it, so that we can address those concerns that people have."
Garcia urged people to call police if they think that their rights are being violated.
Citizens are getting caught up in the raids, Alvarez said, relating how one citizen told of agents in an unmarked van who asked workers at a construction site for two forms of identification. Six were unable to produce IDs and were taken away, he said.
On Tuesday, while discounting the reports of raids as unfounded rumors, Mexican Consul General Jorge Guajardo also called on U.S. authorities and his office in Austin to work "to the extent possible to let the people know that these are not taking place."
Guajardo said the reports had led to severe unintended consequences. In addition to not going to work and school, some immigrants were neglecting medical care and even risking their children's health, he said.
Hernandez said many students stopped coming to her agency's English as a second language classes and others were forgoing trips there for food, clothing and other basic needs.
Who is the criminal?
These "eye witness reports" are from people who also have a cousin (it's always "a cousin") who has seen a chupacabra. Good luck on running down rumors in a Mexican community.
Whatever works to get them to leave and come back legally.
or simply fed up Citizens.
Under Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, "Improper Entry by Alien," any citizen of any country other than the United States who:
Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or
Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or
Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact; has committed a federal crime.
Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.
Impersonating law enforcement officers and terrorizing immigrants and citizens is against the law too.
"Whatever it takes"?
Even impersonating law enforcement officers and terrorizing illegal immigrants AND U.S. citizens?
Those darned vigilantes...
I'm trying to imagine exactly how they might terrorize me.
Guess the pro-illegals will have to try harder.
I'm unaffected by this article.
Taking the law into your own hands by "impersonating law enforcement officers and terrorizing immigrants and citizens" seems to me the very definition of "vigilante" - what's next, are you going to defend LYNCHINGS again?
I've seen a couple. On the TV news. Kinda looked like scraggly, mangy dogs.
Never seen a jackalope, though.
Oh, puleeze. Follow the money. No one has seen any of these round ups. It's all rumor. Now, just who do you think would start such rumors? Hmm, you don't think it might be La Raza and such?
Ain't that the truth. It's a case study in what happens when the level of ignorance in any given population hits an all time high.
Please, Have some compassion! Those were just undocumented agents doing jobs the Federal government just won't do!
Of course the rumors are not true. Federal officials would never be so crass and insensitive as to seek out and arrest someone for being in the country illegally. Why, that would simply not be politically correct. Besides, they will all soon be on a fast track to "earned citizenship."
No matter how bad it gets, I can't see the benefit of adopting the "muslim model"
Lashing out randomly is brainless.
I would concentrate on the violent criminals. If there weren't any, there would not be a problem.
I heard a rumor that the vigilantes are teaming up with the Chupacabra. It get's dark out there in the desert.
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