Wednesday, August 19, 2015

MEXIFORNIA: Lack of Local Law Enforcement Cooperation Forces ICE To Stage Elaborate Immigration Raids

Hugo Medina,32, was apprehended Aug.12. Medina 
had been deported to Mexico several times.
The team of federal agents gathered before dawn in an empty strip mall parking lot in Riverside.
As they readied their guns and strapped on black Kevlar vests, the leader of the operation briefed them on the day's targets: several immigrants with criminal records who were in the country illegally.
One of them, 32-year-old Hugo Medina, was convicted of driving under the influence in 2010, of petty theft in 2014 and of drug possession earlier this year, according to court documents. He was released from Riverside County jail in June after jail officials declined to honor a request from immigration authorities to transfer him to their custody.
Agents had been casing his house — a tidy bungalow on the city's north side — for several days.
On cue, they stormed the property early Wednesday, guns drawn. Five minutes later, Medina was led out, shoeless and dressed in cutoff shorts. Inside, his mother, wife and three young children sobbed. It's a form of blackmail. They're saying, 'Acquiesce to this bad program or we'll do something worse.' - Chris Newman, legal director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network
It used to be simpler for Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to locate and deport immigrants who had been convicted of crimes. The agency would contact local jails and ask that such inmates be held until an ICE van could pick them up.
But last year a federal judge found that practice illegal, prompting hundreds of counties to stop honoring the detainer requests. As a result, ICE officials say they have to rely on costly and dangerous manhunts like the one conducted Wednesday in Riverside.
The agency's Fugitive Operation teams carry out raids across the country every morning.
Originally formed to locate immigrants who had failed to comply with a judge's deportation order, the program is increasingly being used to find immigrants with criminal convictions who have recently been let out of jail. Of the more than 27,000 people whom authorities arrested last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2014, about 78% had criminal convictions, according to ICE data.
"It would be so much safer for the community if we took custody of this individual in the jail," said David Marin, deputy director of ICE's Los Angeles field office. "It would have taken us two officers to do that, as opposed to the eight or nine that we have out here now."
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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