Los Angeles Sees Raids Over Ties to Cartels

09/10/14 The New York Times

hidden_assetsLOS ANGELES — Federal agents conducted a series of raids on Wednesday morning across this city’s fashion district, sweeping more than 70 locations, arresting nine people, and seizing at least $65 million in cash and assets from organizations with ties to Mexican cartels, law enforcement officials said. Justice Department officials said that the sum was only a piece of the money cartels were laundering through Los Angeles businesses, many of them clothing wholesalers.

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Press Release: Frustration Mounts as DHS Continues and Expands Bush-Era Immigration Enforcement Strategies

Janet NapolitanoCommon Dreams, 7/29/2009

On the heels of several reports critical of the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement and detention policies, grassroots advocates for immigration reform took to the streets today to protest the continuation and expansion of ineffective Bush-era tactics.

Their protests echo the findings of credible reports and the recommendations of law enforcement officials, all of whom are calling on DHS to make significant changes in policy and strategy.

In New York today, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was met by protesters from the New York Immigration Coalition and allied organizations who demanded an investigation of flagrant abuses by immigration agents in residential raids carried out under the Bush Administration.

This call is based on a recently released public study of the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency’s home raid operations by the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University.

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Migrant organizations demand end to raids (in Spanish)

El Universal, 4/16/2009

A woman reacts to a 2008 raid in Postville, IA
A woman reacts to a 2008 raid in Postville, IA

Migrant organizations of the Global Association of Mexicans Abroad (AMME) called on President Barack Obama to stop the raid and deportation campaigns that have been increasing in the past two years.

Before the President’s visit to Mexico, the AMME’s 700 organizations acknowledged that there is “a significant change, not just in the rhetoric, but also in the attitude of the U.S. government” in relation to Mexico. However, they asked that the President view the bilateral relationship “under a broader lens and that national security not be sole determinant of his decisions.”

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A Cause Célèbre Clouds Mexican Sentiment on Kidnapping Scourge

The New York Times, 4/8/2009

Three years ago, morning news programs here broadcast the arrest of a Frenchwoman and her Mexican boyfriend in a police raid that rescued three kidnapping victims from the ranch the couple shared.

The woman, Florence Cassez, was convicted of kidnapping and other crimes and was eventually sentenced to 60 years in jail. Case closed, it would seem.

But through it all, Ms. Cassez, 34, has maintained her innocence. Her boyfriend, Israel Vallarta, who confessed, said she knew nothing. And the television images of police officers storming the ranch? The raid turned out to have been staged the day after the couple was arrested and the hostages released.

“In a general climate of impunity, society becomes very conservative,” said Guillermo Zepeda, a security expert at the Center of Research for Development, a Mexico City policy group. “They want the few cases that are resolved to be exemplary.”

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Op-Ed: Obama’s immigration mishmash

Op-Ed, San Diego Union Tribune, 4/5/2009

immigration_and_customs_enforcement_arrestWhat a mishmash the Obama administration has made of its position on immigration reform.

The president recently promised the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he’d tackle immigration reform this year and argued that legalizing the undocumented improves the economic power of all workers. But more recently, Vice President Joe Biden told a group of Central American leaders that the economic crisis makes this a bad time to push the subject. “It’s difficult to tell a constituency – while unemployment is rising, they’re losing their jobs and their homes – that what we should do is in fact legalize (illegal immigrants) and stop all deportation,” he said.

President Barack Obama and Biden should get their stories straight. Then again, there is similar confusion at the Department of Homeland Security, the agency charged with protecting the nation’s borders.

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Amid immigration concerns, Locke urges stepped-up outreach; lawmaker calls for halt to raids

The Associated Press, 3/30/2009


New Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Monday exhorted census volunteers to boost outreach in hard-to-count communities as a top lawmaker urged the government to halt immigration raids to ensure an accurate count.

Speaking at a Census Bureau training conference, Locke and Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., tried to allay fears in Hispanic and Asian communities where immigrants often mistake census workers for tax collectors or law enforcement officials.

“It is your familiar, trusted voices that will help us succeed in educating residents about the census,” Locke, who is Asian-American, said in his first public appearance since taking office.

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Op-Ed: The Failure of ICE

Op-Ed, La Opinion, 3/9/2009

ICE no longer alone in immigration law enforcement
ICE no longer alone in immigration law enforcement

The report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the program that authorizes collaboration between police and immigration agents provides the best argument yet to get rid of it. The lack of interest shown by the Office of Immigration and Custom (ICE) in fulfilling the program’s stated purpose has led to a poorly supervised and misdirected process.

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