ICE Arrests 12 In Harrisonburg Area

Brent Finnegan -- February 3rd, 2010

Last Friday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the arrest of dozens of unauthorized immigrants and fugitives wanted for various criminal activities. The operation netted 36 people statewide; 12 arrests were made in the Harrisonburg area.

The Northern Virginia area accounted for the largest number of arrests made during the operation where a total of 20 criminal aliens were arrested . . .

This week’s special enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE’s Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for locating, arresting, and removing at large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives – aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation handed down by the nation’s immigration courts. ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams (FOTs) give top priority to cases involving aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including members of transnational street gangs and child sex offenders.

The release states that “three gang members were among those [36] captured in the 4-day operation,” and The Daily News-Record reported that “the Combined Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Gang Enforcement task force, or CHARGE, was notified by ICE in advance as a courtesy.” However, it’s unclear from the official ICE statement that any of the local arrests were gang-related.

The DNR story indicates that neither ICE nor CHARGE officials returned the reporter’s calls for further information.

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18 Responses to “ICE Arrests 12 In Harrisonburg Area”

  1. Overall, the non-information provided about these arrests leaves more questions than answers. Big surprise there.

  2. Renee says:

    I find this interesting: “Of the 36 arrested, 30 were men and six were women and represent more than 16 different nations, including countries in Latin America, the Middle East, Caribbean, and Africa.”

  3. Agreed, Jeremy. Also, if officials don’t clarify what’s in the releases, it would seem the public is better off reading the actual news release than local news reports. I doubt that’s unintentional.

  4. Eso says:

    12 illegals in Harrisonburg, 36 overall, in four days?!?! What were they doing all that time? You could roll up to Walmart anytime of day or night and capture that many in 15 minutes.

  5. Nicholas says:

    Just a tangential reminder, Eso: Since language so powerfully shapes us, it is preferable not to classify people as simply “illegals.” In short, “Undocumented immigrant” tends to be a slightly more humanizing term than “illegal alien.” It also puts more of the focus on the brokenness/shortcomings of current laws rather than on the “criminal” nature of those without legally acceptable status.

    See earlier thread for more on the discussion of personal labels such as “criminal” and “illegal.” Scroll about half-way down for the beginning of this specific topic (beginning with your comment and JGFitzgerald’s response, interestingly).

  6. Nicholas says:

    32 of the 36 were reported to have “prior convictions for a variety of crimes.” According to the ICE release, all twelve arrested in Harrisonburg were “criminal aliens.”

    While I am in no way attempting to clear those arrested–especially since it is noted that some were convicted of robbery, gang activity and narcotics possession–I wonder how serious some of the other “prior convictions” were. Were there folks in the arrests who simply had a DUI on record or some other minor conviction?

    If the 32 criminals arrested actually had serious prior convictions, than ICE was doing their job this time. Unfortunately, according to numbers in the release, “criminal aliens specifically accounted for approximately 45 percent of the overall total [of 35,094 arrests in 2009].” In other words, less than half of arrests involved “aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety” to whom ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams purport to give top case priority!

  7. Nicholas says:

    What I am attempting to say is that ICE could not simply “roll up to Walmart anytime of day or night and capture that many in 15 minutes.” The ICE FOTs are supposed to target criminals of national security threat, not the hardworking–though undocumented–neighbor families you meet when you are out and about in town.

    Please help to cultivate a culture respecting the dignity of our immigrant neighbors.

  8. citydweller says:

    nicholas: i’m sorry you don’t consider a DUI a very serious offense. is it the same as murder? no ,but it could very easily result in someone dying. case in point: the recent rash of alcohol related accidents in the area that resulted in death of driver and/or passenger.

  9. Renee says:

    “You could roll up to Walmart anytime of day or night and capture that many in 15 minutes.”

    Eso, how? By stopping anyone that had an accent or didn’t look “American” enough and asking for their papers? Sheesh…

  10. Nicholas says:

    I do consider DUI or driving without a license or nearly any other criminal offense to be dangerous and serious, but I do not see such convictions as grounds for deportation as I do not think they “pose a threat to national security.”

  11. Nicholas says:

    I do consider DUI or driving without a license or nearly any other criminal offense to be dangerous and serious, but I do not see such convictions as grounds for deportation. I do not think they “pose a threat to national security.”

  12. Nicholas says:

    (sorry for the double post)

  13. eso says:

    Nicholas:
    I agree with you that language has a powerful way to shape the way we think. That is exactly why “politically correct” double speak and university speech codes have arisen. I refuse to “normalize deviance”. I understand and sympathize with why individual illegals have invaded our country. But at the scale of millions of per year, society has a right to defend and define it’s borders as it sees fit. The immigration laws are not “broken”, the enforcement is. To just call them “neighbors” because they have decided to invade our country and happen to colonize someplace near our home is naive and simplistic.

  14. Olivia says:

    Since people without papers are not allowed to have a driver’s lisence, many more “criminals” have been created and will continue to be created. Regardless, they still drive-have to get to work, the supermarket, etc, just like the rest of us.

  15. John says:

    Call them by whatever name makes you feel better…”alcoholic” sounds better than drunk, “affair” sounds better than fornication, but the end result is the same. If they aren’t ILLEGAL, why the demand for amnesty?
    How can you demand amnesty unless a crime has been committed…such as say…entering the country ILLEGALLY. Which, by the way, is a slap in the face to every person who enters the country legally.

  16. Who is demanding “amnesty”? And how is it a “slap in the face to every person who enters the country legally” when most of the people coming illegally have no legal way to come?

    • JP says:

      Why do you say they have no way to enter legally. If thats true, how do the rest enter legally. They do not want to enter legally, that would take an effort to learn our language, our culture, not fly a foreign flag over our flag. It would require assimilation. No, they do not want to do the right thing, they only want a free ride.

      • You enter legally by applying for a specific category of visa. Most of the folks coming illegally do not fit any of the categories due to their lack of money, education, and connections. The ones who came legally, on the other hand, had money, education, connections, or at least qualified for the visa lottery (which is closed to most Central Americans).

        This basic fact – that most of the people coming illegally have no legal way to come – is hardly ever mentioned in the ongoing debate over immigration. Why is that?

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