ICE nets 34 in raid
September 12, 2006
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency detained 34 undocumented immigrants in the towns of Basalt and Carbondale and the surrounding area in a surprise operation Monday and Tuesday.ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said the action was part of a national operation called “Return to Sender.””This operation is part of a fugitive operation program and the targets are aliens who have a final deportation order from an immigration judge and who have ignored those orders,” Rusnok said in a phone interview from his office in Dallas.ICE had detention orders for 13 immigrants, while seven others had criminal records. The other 14 were detained for staying in the United States without legal authorization. One of the suspects in Carbondale told La Tribuna newspaper that the agents arrived at his house around 7 a.m. Monday and knocked on the door.Javier, 14, who requested his last name not be used because he is in the United States illegally, added that three men and a woman entered his house and claimed to be immigration agents. Then they said they had a deportation order against one of the house residents and requested documents from those who were present.”We told them we didn’t have [papers],” Javier added, “then they told us that we were detained for being illegally in the United States”.Javier is a student at Yampah Mountain High School and has lived in the United States for about six years.The teenager, a native of Mexico, added that the four agents carried weapons, but they did not use violence in the captures.Another resident of the house, a 16-year-old girl, hid in the bathroom and was not found by the agents, Javier added. The other eight people in the residence were transported in a white van to the ICE detention center in West Glenwood.Javier said when they arrived at the center, seven other people were already there. Ten other detainees arrived later.Javier was freed on the same day, after his mother went to look for him. She also is in the United States illegally, and for that reason both of them will have to report to ICE once a month until they receive a citation to stand in front of an immigration judge, according to what ICE told him before his release.Regarding Javier’s housemates, he said that they remained detained in Glenwood Springs when he left. At noon Tuesday he had not heard about them.The Carbondale teenager said he felt good to be free again, but he and his mother are afraid that the immigration judge will issue deportation orders against them.Omar Cabrera and Verónica Whitney are reporters for La Tribuna newspaper.