San Francisco is once again leading the way – this time with a proposal that would appear to make it the first county in the nation to unequivocally refuse to detain immigrants suspected of living here illegally for federal authorities. That proposal, authored by Supervisor John Avalos and supported by a supermajority of his colleagues, would make it illegal for San Francisco law enforcement officials to detain someone solely on the basis of immigration status. Currently, the Sheriff Department’s policy states that only people suspected of serious or violent felonies, or those with a serious or violent felony in their past, will be held for immigration authorities. In 2012, 542 people were handed over to federal authorities by San Francisco officials; another 176 were transferred in the first six months of 2013. The proposed law will be considered by a board committee made up of its supporters Thursday, where it is expected to be approved.
"This was not an enforcement of targeting illegal immigration or illegal immigrants. It was a criminal investigation," said ICE spokesperson Barbara Gonzalez. Eric Falbe, general counsel for Danny’s Family Car Wash, says the company is cooperating with investigators. He declined further comment. "My husband doesn’t have a criminal record. My husband has dedicated his life to being a gymnast and bicyclist and to be with his children. Is that being a criminal?" asked Laura Torres. "Laura’s husband was deported 10 years ago and came back. I don’t think that is something that makes someone dangerous to the community. To me, that means that he wanted to be here with his family and he wanted to work," added Tania Unzueta of the National Day Labor Organizing Network.
“We are… going after businesses that are a magnet for unauthorized workers, ” said Andrew Munoz, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Munoz was explaining the events of Saturday, where 13 Danny’s Family car washes were hit in an all-day raid by ICE. “Since 2009, ICE has kind of shifted its work site enforcement strategy so we focus now on the arrest of the employers and managers (and) supervisors rather than coming in with these large scale enforcement actions that focus solely on workers.” Said Amber Cargile, ICE spokeswoman. While ICE was quick to point out that the raid was not the Joe Arpaio-style immigration raids to arrest and prosecute laborers that Maricopa County has become accustomed to, the workers at the car washes were still detained.
Federal immigration agents raided several branches of a car wash business in Phoenix, rounding up 223 workers as part of a two-year investigation into immigration fraud. Federal agents on Saturday swarmed 16 locations of Danny’s Family Car Washing and the company’s staffing service provider, HR Betty. The investigating agency, site U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the case targets the owners and leaders of the two businesses and that multiple people face charges of criminal immigration fraud, identity theft and financial violations. Fourteen people were arrested on criminal charges, four were U.S. citizens and 10 were Mexican nationals.
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President Obama’s immigration enforcement director announced his resignation early Monday, ending a four-year tenure that saw a dramatic shift in how the federal government pursues and deports unauthorized immigrants. In an internal letter to colleagues on Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton announced he would depart the agency by the end of July and start working for a private company. He will be moving to Capital One, the Fortune 500 financial services company, and be based in their McLean,Va. headquarters as head of the company’s compliance office, the company said in a statement.
The government has not dropped the deportation cases against the immigrants, however: The detainees have been freed on supervised release while their cases continue in court, officials said. The releases, which have taken place over the past few days, were approved “in order to make the best use of our limited detention resources in the current fiscal climate and to manage our detention population under current congressionally mandated levels,” Gillian M. Christensen, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement. The budget cuts, also called the sequester, are scheduled to take effect Friday. The agency, Ms. Christensen added, “is continuing to prosecute their cases in immigration court and, when ordered, will seek their removal from the country.”
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Many Bay Area counties said they have already been using their own discretion when notifying ICE about suspected illegal immigrants—something State Attorney General Kamala Harris just gave them permission to do. Some even said that Harris’s decision doesn’t go far enough. Santa Clara County, San Francisco, order and Berkeley officials said they have already declined to comply with the Se Communities detention orders which requires that law enforcement agencies hold those who are suspected of being an undocumented immigrant after being arrested form some unrelated crime.
En Arizona, la batalla contra el Sheriff de Maricopa Joe Arpaio apenas comienza su fase legal: en la corte federal en Phoenix empieza hoy un juicio contra Arpaio y su Departamento del Sheriff de Maricopa (MCSO), basado en una demanda de clase que alega la “decisión y práctica” de hacer operativos para detener a conductores y pasajeros latinos y revisar su estatus legal con la excusa de una parada de tráfico. La demanda fue presentada en diciembre de 2007 y es muy anterior y separada, sick aunque los cargos son similares, a la presentada por el Departamento de Justicia en Mayo del 2012. Apenas ahora llega a juicio. Se espera que este dure desde este jueves hasta el 2 de agosto, informó Alessandra Soler, directora de la Unión de Libertades Civiles de Arizona.