Skip to comments.18,000 Arrested in Illegals Sting
Posted on 04/08/2007 11:41:42 AM PDT by VU4G10
SAN DIEGO -- More than one-third of 18,000 people arrested in a nearly yearlong federal crackdown on illegal immigrants were not the people authorities targeted, according to government figures.
The so-called "collateral arrests" involved people picked up by immigration agents while seeking fugitives such as drug smugglers, thieves, drunken drivers and others who flouted deportation orders.
When tracking down fugitives, authorities visit a suspect's last known address and often find other immigrants, who are then asked to prove they are legally entitled to live in the United States.
Supporters of such tactics say the government is just doing its job after years of neglect.
"God bless 'em,"' said Peter Nunez, a former U.S. attorney in San Diego who teaches immigration policy at the University of San Diego. "They apparently decided to start with these fugitives. If you're going to find one (illegal immigrant), you're going to find 100."
Critics say the campaign against fugitive illegal immigrants ensnares many hard-working people who are in the country illegally but do not pose a danger.
"They're trying to sell it as something where they target (criminals) but it's become part of a larger dragnet," said Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee's office in San Diego.
Dubbed "Operation Return to Sender," the crackdown began last May in cities across the nation. As of Feb. 23, it has resulted in 18,149 arrests of suspected illegal immigrants, most of whom were captured at home and in Hispanic neighborhoods.
But, according to figures from Immigration and Custom Enforcement, 37 percent of those cases, or 6,696 arrests, were "collateral" captives _ people who just happened to be present when agents arrived. Such arrests account for more than half the total in four cities: Dallas and El Paso, Texas (59 percent); New York (54 percent); and San Diego (57 percent).
On Tuesday, ICE completed a two-week sting that targeted 300 fugitives in San Diego. Agents found 62 fugitives but took 297 other people into custody, bringing the total arrests to 359. The illegal immigrants were returned to their home countries or jailed while awaiting a court hearing.
The government defends the collateral arrests.
"We can't look the other way," said Robin Baker, ICE's director of detention and removals in San Diego. "We did that for too long." The agency's guidelines are to make arrests in houses, not in the streets, Baker said, adding that agents do not randomly search communities for illegal immigrants.
For some, the stings evoke memories of immigration raids that fell out of favor in the 1980s. Since then, immigration authorities have stayed close to U.S. borders but are increasingly venturing into homes and workplaces across the country.
"It didn't happen for a good 15 years," Baker said. "Now that it's opening up again, people don't like it. They got used to us not being there."
God bless ‘em
Illegal is the operative word! I don’t care if they have come here and turned into priests! They are illegal and will continue to be illegal every day they are in this country. The progressive establishment can utilize a plethora of terms, however, illegal is illegal every day of the week. We must start somewhere and it must begin with enforcement of the laws we have. As citizens, we are not allowed to pick and choose what laws we follow, and we are not allowed to pick and choose what taxes we pay. The Justice Department must enforce all the laws, including the Logan Act, which Nancy Pelosi could be prosecuted under.
About damned time.
ICE should have hung out at the big protest march yesterday. And had a fleet of prison busses to haul away the illegal bastards.
The arrogance of these criminals is galling!
Think for one second what the toll would be if our officials at all levels merely enforced the existing immigration laws that are now on the books.
Before we vote anybody in or out of office, how about making the bastards do their jobs first?
From the top down!
Boy, Geraldo had better not hear about this, or that carotid artery will surely burst this time.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
As is the number one advocate for these ILLAGALS in American government, george w bush.
If they're working, they're likely using a citizens SS #. For those whose identities are stolen, they do pose a danger and commit a felony. If they're using a TIN (taxpayer ID#) they'll pay a lot less in taxes than they get back on earned income credit. Using our tax dollars in this manner is a danger as well.
I agree. There is no reason in the world to send these people back to their own country and I mean all of the illegals.
To a hard core liberal like "J"eraldo "illegal" isn't a word, it's slang.
Yea, well I don't pose a threat by carrying a firearm but I still have to get a permit.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
It’s a nice number of ilegals picked up if your happy with one days worth of invaders.
Those critics can kiss my elbow.
Let them send checks for the support of the illegals so my taxes won't be used to support them.
Illegal is illegal and undesireable, danger or not.
Guess what bone head? If they're in the country illegally, they ARE criminals. Just what don't you get about this concept?
You are deranged.
President Bush *formed* ICE, fired two federal prosecutors for not prosecuting illegals (ooooh, the big "Attorney-gate scandal"), and this is a news story about Bush's efforts resulting in 18,000 arrests...yet you are so *deranged* that you hold up President Bush as a proponent of the very thing for which he's arresting thousands.
Look, spare me the "it's not enough" and "too little, too late" clap-trap. You're just unappeasable.
You should be banned as a left-wing troll.
Look Pedro, being here illegally is a crime in itself. Some of us don't care how "hard working" anyone is if they have entered illegally.
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