Meda and Enforcement Agencies want us to believe that they are taking only "criminal aliens". MENTIRAS! They are taking taking parents walking kids home from school, women walking home from grocery store, workers at bus stops, etc.
Last week's raids was not the conclusion of sweps--THEY WERE ONLY THE BEGINNING.
June 1st marked the begining of O.C.'s "enforcement team" (read 2nd article for more details below).
Today, a half-dozen or so people hit the streets of Santa Ana around 4th and Main, carrying signs that say "DEPORT ICE" and "ALTO A LOS REDADAS" and fliers abouto the upcoming meeting (Thurs) and march (Sat.). We were following up on a report from a team of folks who last night learned that there had been ICE agents at a nearby market (Northgate Gonzales) and suspected that an ICE raid might perhaps be in the works. The report was that last Saturday morning, around 11am, these agents were spotted talking to businesses and checking entrances and exits. We thought it was possibe a raid was being planned for this area, so we wanted to check it out without causing any alarm to community members.
What we learned today, walking to and around the store and surrounding area, was that apparantly a raid did take place. A separate report from a local person was that Friday and Saturday, around 10 or 11am and then again around 3pm, that ICE appeared and just started taking people. This report said the agents entered Carisol marketplace (same vicinity as the other) and took away 15 people, plus several other reports of seeing the vans and ICE officials walking around their streets.
The time and location corresponds enough to the first report that it sounds valid. It is difficult to confirm the actuality of the numbers reported, right now there is so little documentation of what is happening that all we have to rely on is the word on the streets.
As we approached another street vendor and surrounding clientele, we heard more stories. We met a family who said they called Univision already to tell them their story--that the ICE agents are targeting bike trails where parents walk their kids home from school. We were asked repeatedly by this family to please go there if we wanted to help, to go there when school is getting out that that is when the agents arrive to grab people. The school in particular the spoke of is Roosevelt school on Chestnut and Holiday.
We heard other stories--of agents stopping people in their cars (perhaps this is the checkpoint others reported of occuring last night??). After a while, it grew difficult to continue writing down all the street corners and locations where they had heard immigration agents had been appearinng because there were just so many--15th and Surgeon by Davis school, 17th St. at a 7-11, 1st and Grand, Chapman St. in the city of Orange, and so on.
Another group of women we encountered on the street today said that we had just missed agents earlier this morning. They said that at 9:30 this morning, 2 vans that said HOMELAND SECURITY parked, one on each side of the street, and 3 men in black/ navy blue uniforms that said "immigration" on it, each carrying pistols around their waste, walked into theirs and other peoples businesses and starting asking questions, with little children standing nearby and families on streets surrounding. At this point, the ladies we spoke to said they were told by others to go inside and not come out until they (the immigration officials) had left.
When we walked down another block, I peered ahead to inspect an unmarked white van parked on the strip. As I walked forward, carrying my sign, I was greeted with something that caught me by great surprise to receive. I was greeted by a standing ovation (clapping and standing up) by the vendors and women gathered on that particular location. I almost couldn't believe my eyes (or ears). I walked over to them to share the flier and information about events, and they told us about several other locations of raids; they spoke to us of how empty their streets were (on the main strip in Santa Ana) all through the weekend; they told us of how much fear people are in, that they are too afraid to come out and shop. The group of people took the fliers, promised to come to the meeting tomorrow night, and thanked us repeatedly for being there.
Another uncofirmed report is also that yesterday immigration officials corned off streets at the end of the work day at 3 different janitorial work sites near Irvine. More details are coming in later today on that report.
Tomorrow, we call for continued walks through the community. We are asking for a team to depart from Centro (the corner of 5th and Broadway) at noon (come early if possible to make signs), but either way--depart at noon to make the same walk down 4th street as the community was greatly appreciative of our presence.
Secondly, we'd like a second team to go to Roosevelt school on Chestnut and Holiday when the kids get let out to provide a presence of safety for the parents walking their children home from school. The exact address and time of release needs to be confirmed--anyonoe is welcome to research that and post it back to the recipients of this email, or look it up yourself and just show up tomorrow at the end of the school day.
What is happening is clearly horrible, and based on the growing numbers of people responding, this will NOT be taken quietly. We met people on the streets today who had already received our fleirs, copied them, and was distributing them to their friends and/or posting on their market windows. We expect a significant community response and participation in tomorrow's meeting, and suggest for people to help by providing or bringing refreshments? a pitcher of aguas? pan dulce?
LASTLY---we have gone through over 2,000 fliers in the last 2 days, so I have attached the flier to this email, and ANYONE who can print and make copies can drop off the fliers during daytime hours at Centro in the first door which opens only to the lobby. This door at least from noon -on should be open.
A report from our street team of folks flyering and talking w/ community today gave information that points to an ICE raid coming anyday now at Northgate Market on 4th St (409 E. 4th St., Santa Ana, 92701) between Spurgeon and French St.
The security guard at the store reported seeing officials who appeared to be ICE walking around the store, checkingi the entrances and exits, and acting suspicious. The ICE officials, including the reported white vans they came in, were there on reportedly 3 days ago at around 11am, their opening time.
This is the first of what could be many possible ICE warnings we could have, so we should think about how is best to respond.
I suggest those who have time during daytime hours meet at Centro tomorrow, 10am, pick up some signs, and we picket there for maybe an hour or something w/ general signs that we could realisitically be saying anywhere in Santa Ana (Stop the Raids! Afuera ICE de nuestra comunidade). This may serve as to detur the raid if it is coming, plus other possible benefits such as talking w/ more community and perhaps putting Northgate Market in an uncomfortable position if they appear to be cooperating w/ ICE..
We will assume 11am as their potential arrival time, and therefore plan to arrive there and picket around 11am?? It can reallyl be as simple as 3 or so people showing up to create a presence.
REPORT MONDAY 6/25/07
Immigration Sweeps in Orange County: Just the first of Many More to Come by: D.L.
According to LA Times, a special immigration enforcement team began operations June 1st, and is based in Laguna Niguel [OC Register]. This new team is one of 61 enforcement teams operating across country, with 14 more teams expected to be operational by the end of this year.
This last week concluded what officials say is "the first operation of a new fugitive-operations team in Orange County that is charged with scaling back the number of illegal immigrants." [OC Register, 6/23/07]. This indicates that the 5-day sweep is the first of many more to come.
The name of the operation is "Operation Cross Check" whose goal is to "reduce the number of people, especially those with criminal records, who fail to follow court orders to deport." However, of the 175 people arrested, only 27 had criminal records, and 26 (perhaps 26 of the 27?) had failed to comply with court orders to leave the country.
This leaves the remaining 150 people arrested, approximately 85% of those arrested this last week, according to OC Register, as being "immigrants with no law-enforcement record who were picked up after agents checked for identification on the house visits."
Questions that arise are--"house visits"? What strategy are they using to determine which houses (or, let's be real--which street corner or bus stop also) they are choosing to "visit"? Or, are they just randomly stopping people as reports from the neighborhoods affected have indicated? The same public report cooresponds with public interviews in the communities affected, which is that--they simply stop you, and if you are unable to provide documnetation at that moment of your citizenship (such as California I.D.), then, you are arrested.
The task force is officially located in Laguna Niguel as Homeland Security's California location for "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services" [US CIS]. However, whether the team is located in Laguna Niguel or not, the offices of US CIS has a sub-office in downtown Santa Ana at 34 Civic Center Plaza.
Detention for arrestees "serving this area" are said to be held at Westminster Office at 14560 Magnolia St., which supports the Detention and Removal Unit of US CIS. To inquire about "aliens", you may call (714) 372-3803.
It's important to note that this "service center" is "serving" both Orange County and South Los Angeles County.
For Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, there is a US CIS office in San Bernarndino at 655 West. Rialto Ave., San Bernarndino, with detention facilities undeclared but information obtainable at (909) 386-3228 or (213) 830-5160.
However, at least one arrestee--a father who had just finished walking his children to school in the morning, Sergio Tamayo, is being held in Lancaster at a facility that is otherwise recognized as an L.A. County Jaill who is contracted by the INS to "house illegal immigrants until their immigration case is decided." This facility is called Mira Loma Detention Center, 45100 60th West, Lancaster, CA, with inmate information at (213) 473-6080.
It is not clear how many other contract facilities US CIS / ICE / or INS may be using, but reports indicate they also will rent space inside local city or county jails. The department ICE reports that the average stay for inmates is usually around 30 days, but some will remain in custody for years.
Conclusions are that--the last 5 days was not the first, nor the last of such raids. There is now grounded evidence that the raids are in fact--"RAIDS" --by virtue of the 85% arrested only being taken into custody by ICE's "house visits" and not having proper identification. The location of where these arrestees or detainees are being taken is not clear or transparent, making it difficult to monitor or report on their situations or well-being. Also, it appears that South Los Angeles may be receiving similar raids from the same "team", perhaps all part of the "Operation Cross Check."
Advocates for immigrant communities need to be increasing diligent in following these "teams", and question whether this should take precedence as primary struggles to align ourselves with. This would mean--initiating or intensifying rapid response network to ICE raids, increasing advocate or independent journalists' presence on the actual streets and communities where the raids are taking place, and continuing conversation within affected communities directly, supporting their own desires for steps to take forward.
Such raids and invasions in our community must not continue to occur in the dark. Families living in these communities are afraid, to scared to walk out their doors at times with such heightened attacks. It is the responsibiltiy of advocates to be stepping up, making ourselves visible as allies, and making clear and definite statements denouncing these attacks, and refusing to allow ICE to terrorize these communities without being witnessed by outside communities.
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