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|5/24: 900 nabbed in California state on immigration charges
Released 30 May 2008  By Tyche Hendricks - San Francisco Chronicle
900 nabbed in state on immigration charges
Tyche Hendricks, San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Federal immigration officers arrested more than 900 people in California on immigration violations this month, almost half of them in Northern California, officials said Friday.
Fugitive operations teams with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made 441 arrests in the northern part of the state. Of those, 178 were targeted individuals who had either ignored final orders of deportation or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported. The other 263 were people encountered in the course of making the arrests who did not have legal authorization to be in the country, ICE officials said. Roughly 1 in 5 of the people arrested had felony or misdemeanor criminal convictions, according to the agency. They included a 31-year-old Sacramento man with a record of transporting and selling heroin and a 41 year-old man from Watsonville with convictions for spousal rape and burglary. Both men had been previously deported and had returned to the United States.
Among those arrested in the Bay Area were 17 people in San Rafael taken into custody at their homes early Thursday, of whom four were targeted by immigration officials, said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice.
The San Rafael arrests sent fear through Mexican and Central American communities, which include many undocumented immigrants. Three San Rafael schools reported scores of student absences Thursday, including San Pedro Elementary School, which canceled its open house Thursday night because families were afraid to attend, district officials said.
San Pedro's principal, Kathryn Gibney, had testified before Congress two
days earlier at a hearing on the emotional impact of immigration raids on children.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, who chaired the hearing, contacted senior ICE officials Friday to express concern over the raids and suggest that current voluntary humanitarian guidelines covering workplace immigration raids should be mandatory for all ICE actions.
Kice emphasized that ICE did not make any arrests at schools. "Our goal in making all these arrests is to involve as few third parties as possible," she said. "That's one reason we endeavor to make these arrests at residences."
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