On Sept. 18, ICE agents raided several homes and apartment buildings in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood in an operation targeting people who allegedly produce and sell fake identity documents. ICE agents executed search warrants simultaneously at five locations in the area: an office where fraudulent identification documents were allegedly produced; two residences; and two photo studios that allegedly produced photos for fake documents. Activists on the scene reported that ICE agents stormed buildings, hid in garages and interrogated people on the street. Word of the raid spread quickly; tensions in the heavily Mexican neighborhood have been high since ICE made dozens of arrests at a Little Village shopping mall in a similar April 2007 operation targeting a false document ring. (AP, Sept. 18; ICE news release, Sept. 19)
José Landaverde, the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican church in Little Village, said he was questioned during the raids by agents who asked to see his mica, a slang term for green card. Landaverde said he was visiting the local alderman’s office to pick up a block-party permit. “When I walked outside the office, three officers of Immigration approached me and put me on top of my car, and then searched me,” said Landaverde. “And they said, ‘I want to see your documents, mica.’ And then I said, ‘I don’t have any mica, but I have my United States passport because I’m a United States citizen.’ When he saw the passport, he gave it back to me right away and he said, ‘Go away.'”
On 26th Street, the neighborhood’s main drag, Landaverde said immigration agents “were stopping everyone who was walking on the sidewalk and saying, ‘Lay down on the floor, searching you, give me your documentation.’ If you didn’t have it, they were taking you.” (WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio, Sept. 19)
Landaverde held a press conference on Sept. 19 to denounce the raid. “The agents showed up in the neighborhood starting at 9 PM on Tuesday [Sept. 16], with helicopters and guns, and they have been terrorizing the community and taking away innocent people,” said Landaverde. At the press conference, Landaverde introduced Josefina Pérez, a mother of six children who said her husband, Héctor Medina, was arrested in the street during the raids. “He was walking with his cousin and the agents arrested him, accusing him of being a false document seller when in fact he works all day doing auto body repair,” said Pérez. (El Financiero, Mexico, Sept. 19 with information from Notimex/JOT)
It was not clear how many people were arrested in the raid. An ICE news release said the operation was a followup to the April 2007 sweep at the Little Village mall—targeting a competing ring of false document producers who stepped in to pick up extra business after those arrests. The news release said that on Sept. 18 “ICE agents began arresting up to 21 new defendants,” and that 21 people were charged on Sept. 19 in two federal court indictments with conspiring to produce false identification documents. The news release cites US Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, Northern District of Illinois, and Gary J. Hartwig, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago, as saying that 15 of the defendants named in the two indictments had been arrested in Chicago since the night of Sept. 16, while six are fugitives. (Note that both Landaverde and ICE say the arrests began on the night of Sept. 16, while ICE reports that the search warrants were not served until Sept. 18.) (ICE news release, Sept. 19)
ICE said it will continue searching Little Village indefinitely searching for more people implicated in the production and sale of false documents. (El Financiero, Sept. 19 with information from Notimex/JOT)
From Immigration News Briefs, Sept. 20
See our last posts on politics of immigration, and the struggle in Chicago.
NOVEMBER! Save America’s Sovereignty..
There is a welcome for anybody who goes through the arduous process of coming to America legally. It is obviously worth it to them, to wait patiently their turn to receive permission. There is ‘zero tolerance’ for any nationality, who thinks it’s okay to just climb the wall into the United States and expect a welcome by breaking our sovereignty laws.
Becoming a US citizen has shown you are a person of honesty, integrity and respect our laws. That you followed the true path instead of demanding rights that you do not deserve.
THE FEDERAL SAVE ACT (H.R.4088) ENFORCEMENT ONLY LAW AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION! LAST CHANCE FOR AMERICA, BEFORE WE ARE OVERRUN.! WE ARE HEADING FOR OVERPOPULATION! No help from Obama or McCain?
THE MAJORITY OF DEMOCRATS ARE HOLDING UP THIS IMMIGRATION LAW. IT WILL BUILD A TWO-TIER FENCE AS ORIGINALLY FUNDED. MANDATORY ENFORCEMENT AT THE EMPLOYER LEVEL. NO MORE CHAIN MIGRATION. WE ALREADY HAVE 27 GUEST WORKER PROGRAMS, NO MORE JOBS, ILLEGAL FOREIGN NATIONALS WILL LEAVE & GO HOME. THIS IS CALLED ATTRITION! READ THIS POTENTIAL LAW at http://www.numbersusa.com/PDFs/SAVEActSBS.pdf
JOIN 756.000 other American patriots at http://www.numbersusa.com , to stop the travesty of our immigration laws. Learn about Immigration governmental corruption at http://www.judicialwatch.org DEMAND YOUR DEMOCRATS SENATORS & CONGRESSMAN VOTE FOR THE FEDERAL SAVE ACT!
Upper case fetish strikes again
Why do you xenophobes think that WRITING IN THE UPPER CASE MAKES YOUR ARGUMENTS STRONGER?
GREAT JOB ICE
Congratulations to ICE on another fine job. Thanks also to Patrick Fitzgerald and Gary Hartwig for being about the only people in Illinois who are going after the illegals. Little Village area is a slum area with tons of illegals running around. They could have raids there everyday for a year and still not round up all the illegals. Please continue your fine work, increase the raids all over Chicago and Illinois. Buck Mayor Daley’s sanctuary policies and show him he cannot boss around the Feds. Keep up the good work ICE !!! The majority of American and legal citizens are behind you !!
UPPER CASE FETISH: INSIDIOUS MENACE
The problem isn’t that America is being overrun by “illegals,” it’s that the Internet is being overrun by idiots who can’t write.
I highly recommend The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.
And how come all of a sudden you states’ rights freaks turn into advocates of federal power when it comes to overturning Chicago’s sanctuary policy? Just wondering.
Fitzgerald’s double standard on illegality
It’s interesting to see Patrick Fitzgerald involved in sending armed agents out to the streets of Chicago to storm apartment houses and rough up ministers. All this effort and expense–including helicopters–just to find people who are out of immigration status, which is a civil offense comparable to jaywalking.
By contrast, a few years ago this same Patrick Fitzgerald was in Washington overseeing the prosecution of the Valerie Plame Wilson case. Fitzgerald had the opportunity to open up a wide-ranging investigation into the whole “weapons of mass destruction” hoax that led to the Iraq war, the deaths of more than 4,000 GIs and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and the loss of hundreds of billions of our tax dollars. The WMD scandal included forgeries, lying to Congress, illegal leaking of intelligence and many other major felonies. But Fitzgerald limited himself to prosecuting one official, “Scooter” Libby, for perjury. (Libby was convicted, and George W. Bush commuted his prison sentence.)
You have to ask yourself: what part of “illegal” doesn’t Patrick Fitzgerald understand? Or maybe he just doesn’t understand “illegal” when it involves rich white men in nice suits who might be able to help advance his political career.
Patrick Fitzgerald’s greatest hits
Before being appointed to lead the Valerie Plame cover-up, Fitzgerald was the Justice Department’s anti-terrorism prosecutor in New York City. In this capacity, he imposed and enforced the draconian restrictions on “Blind Sheikh” Abdel Rahman’s ability to communicate with the outside world after his conviction, thereby setting the groundwork for the charges against attorney Lynne Stewart—and World War 4 Report being threatened with a federal subpoena.
Fitzgerald on “Community Relations”
Patrick Fitzgerald is insisting the Little Village raids targeted gangs and ID forgers, not undocumented immigrants. He says he wants to help Latino communities like Little Village: “The biggest threat to community relations is having people dominated by a gang, who can’t go to school and work and do what they want to do. And if there’s gangs in neighborhoods, we’re going after them. If the gang’s in Little Village, we’ll go after them there. If the gangs move to Evanston, we’ll do them in Evanston. If they move to the Gold Coast or if they move to Wilmette, we’ll go after gangs where they are.”
The eyewitness accounts indicate that in fact the agents were rounding up people who “looked Latino” and couldn’t produce papers. You don’t normally use massive operations like this to arrest members of a forgery ring. Fitzgerald didn’t seem to carry out similar raids in Wilmette when he prosecuted Wilmette resident Tony Rezko on corruption charges. Wilmette, a wealthy Chicago suburb, happens to be 88% white. http://www.muninetguide.com/states/illinois/municipality/Wilmette.php
The forged IDs bring us back to the Plame Wilson case, which started off with a clumsy forgery purportedly showing Saddam Hussein had tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger. Fitzgerald had his chance to investigate that–but he didn’t bother. Far more important to go after people printing phoney Social Security cards, right?