Released 30 May 2008  By National Immigrant Solidarity Network
5/12 URGENT! Up to 700 Arrested in Iowa Raid!!!!
By Citizens For Legitimate Government
Up to 700 arrests estimated in Postville raid 12 May 2008 (IA) Four Homeland Security buses with U.S. Immigration and Customs tags on them have entered the Agriprocessors Inc. complex. The buses, along with a trail of SUVs and vans with Minnesota license plates, arrived at about 11:45 a.m. Tim Counts, a Midwest ICE spokesman, declined to confirm where people who are arrested will be detained. Federal officials have leased the National Cattle Congress fairgrounds in Waterloo, but they declined to explain last week whether the property was being prepared for use as a detention center.
'Activists discussed today possible strategies to help after a raid, including locating children and identifying detainees.' Fearing raid, immigration-rights activists meet in Waterloo 11 May 2008 Several Iowa immigration-rights activists gathered today at a Waterloo church and the home of a local social worker to discuss what they consider to be an impending immigration raid. The discussions were prompted by federal officials' lease last week of the National Cattle Congress fairgrounds in Waterloo. Local immigration-rights activists fear the fairgrounds will be used as a detention center.
Questions Surround Homeland Security's Presence in Waterloo --Many people in Waterloo believe the site is being transformed into a detention center. 09 May 2008 People in Waterloo are trying to figure out what sort of operation federal officials are conducting in town. This week, the Department of Homeland Security took-over and sealed-off the grounds of the National Cattle Congress on the west side of Waterloo. Thursday night, our crew went to investigate, but security guards told them to stay across the street from the property. Our camera caught pictures of elaborate ventilation systems going into the buildings. There were dozens of cars coming in and out with license plates from surrounding states, and even as far away as Georgia and Texas. A guard at the gate told us they are preparing for training exercises, but a Homeland Security spokesman would not confirm that. Many people in Waterloo believe the site is being transformed into a detention center.
A once ailing private-prison sector is now a revenue maker 12 May 2008 "The private prison industry was on the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, until the feds bailed them out with the immigration-detention contracts," said Michele Deitch, an expert on prison privatization with the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. As increasingly tough immigration laws have called for the detention and deportation of ever more immigrants [and soon-to-be bird flu vaccine refuseniks], the demand for bed space by immigration authorities has helped turn what was once a dying business into a multibillion-dollar industry with record revenue and stock prices several times higher than they were eight years ago. In San Diego, CCA [Corrections Corporation of America] is in the permitting process to build a nearly 3,000-bed facility that the company hopes will be used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. It would hold more than four times the detainees held in San Diego now.
Also from Immigration News Briefs (INB)
RAID AT TEXAS LANDSCAPING BUSINESS
On Apr. 25, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 28 Mexican workers employed by landscaping business and nursery in El Paso, Texas. Doņa Ana County Sheriff's Department officers assisted as ICE agents executed search warrants at Nash Gardens in West El Paso, and a business annex in Sunland Park, New Mexico. Special agents also served a search warrant at the residence of the Nash Gardens business owner. The US Attorney's Office is prosecuting 25 of the workers for using a false document or Social Security number for employment purposes. They were placed in US Marshals Service custody and detained at the Otero County Jail pending their initial appearance in federal court during the week of Apr. 28. The other three workers who were arrested face administrative charges for violating immigration laws. Some of the workers had apparently entered the US legally with a Laser Visa (DSP-150) but had violated the terms of the visa by working without authorization.
RAID AT ARKANSAS AIRPORT
ICE agents arrested 24 workers on administrative immigration violations in an Apr. 30 raid on a construction project at the Little Rock National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas. One of the workers was from Peru; the rest were from Mexico. A US citizen working as supervisor of a concrete crew on airport property was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for driving while intoxicated. The workers were arrested at the site of Supermarine, a company that provides fuel and supplies to corporate and private aircraft. US Attorney Jane Duke said one or two of the arrested immigrants would face unspecified criminal charges; Duke declined to say whether she would pursue any charges against Naylor Concrete, the Oklahoma City company which employed them. Michael A. Holt, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans, thanked the Little Rock Police Department, the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection for their assistance.
RAIDS AT BAY AREA RESTAURANTS, HOMES
On May 2, ICE agents arrested 63 immigrants employed at 11 locations of a Bay Area Mexican restaurant chain, Taqueria El Balazo. Officials said one of the workers was from Guatemala and the rest were from Mexico. Those arrested were photographed, fingerprinted and processed; 10 men and one woman were released the same day on humanitarian grounds to await hearings in immigration court. By May 5, all but 10 of those detained in the raids had been released pending future immigration proceedings, according to ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice. A suspected gang member was still detained, as well as five individuals who refused the option of electronic monitoring, and three juveniles, said Kice. Some 250 people protested the raids in an emergency press conference and rally at ICE offices in San Francisco on May 5.
On May 6, ICE arrested four family members at a Berkeley home and a woman at an Oakland residence. The sweep was part of ICE's fugitive operations program, which seeks out people who have failed to comply with deportation orders. The raids sent a wave of panic among parents in both cities, as many people believed immigration agents were raiding nearby schools. ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice said the rumors launched a "tsunami" of calls to the ICE office. The next day, some two dozen students from Berkeley High School protested the raids by wearing brown armbands in solidarity with the Latino community.
Representative Barbara Lee, whose congressional district includes the raided homes in Berkeley and Oakland, issued a press release condemning the May 6 raids: "Although ICE officials assured my district office that they did not physically enter public school property, the presence of the ICE van near or parked in front of the Esperanza Academy and Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy is of grave concern to me," she wrote. "I will be working with my colleagues to oppose the use of this troubling approach, and I am personally committed to reviewing any ICE policies that may create a culture of fear and intimidation, especially near a school or place of worship."
RESTAURANTS RAIDED IN HAWAI'I
On May 2, ICE agents arrested 22 Mexican immigrant workers at two popular chain restaurants on Maui, according to a news release. Eight workers were arrested at the Cheeseburger Island Style restaurant in Wailea and the Cheeseburger In Paradise restaurant in Lahaina; ICE also arrested 14 employees of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant in Lahaina. The arrests are part of separate ongoing investigations by ICE. The workers were arrested on suspicion of administrative immigration violations. Officials questioned the individuals and released two men under supervision on humanitarian grounds. Twenty workers--six women and 14 men--were flown to the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu. The state Department of Public Safety Sheriff Division, Maui Police Department, Coast Guard, Hawaii Army National Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and US Attorney's Office assisted in the case.
VIRGINIA CONSTRUCTION SITE RAIDED
On May 5, ICE agents raided the construction site of a new federal courthouse in Richmond, Virginia, arresting 33 workers for violating federal immigration laws. Officials had received information that unauthorized immigrants were working at the site, said ICE spokesperson Ernestine Fobbs, and the investigation is ongoing. Fobbs said the 29 men and four women were from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru and were being processed for deportation. No information was available about the employers, Fobbs said.
According to radio reports, federal agents and Virginia State Police officers surrounded the work site about 8 am and rounded up about 50 workers while others attempted to hide inside the half-built complex. The reports said that officials were still searching the site hours later and that the remaining workers were required to wear wristbands showing that their IDs had been found valid.