May 13, 2008

UPDATE #1: Largest Single Site Raid Ever:

Customs and law enforcement agents worked through the night processing the detainees, said Claude Arnold, the ICE special agent in charge of the operation. Detainees were “administratively arrested” but have not yet been criminally charged, he said.

Detainees who are charged with aggravated identity theft, unlawful use of a Social Security number or other offenses will be given lawyers and sent to appearances in one of three makeshift courtrooms at the detainee center in Waterloo, Arnold said.

The set-up includes three courtrooms – two in trailers and one in an existing room. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said the court proceedings would be open within space constraints.

Video footage shot by federal agents showed a large “intake area” in McElroy Auditorium with folding chairs and tables. The footage, which did not show any detainees, included images of a kitchen, break room, restroom and shower facilities used by detainees.

Arnold would not disclose how many people were involved in Monday’s effort, citing security concerns.

— End Update —

This is almost certainly a Department of Homeland Security ENDGAME operation.

I hosted the document on Cryptogon:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Office of Detention and
Removal Strategic Plan, 2003 – 2012
Detention and Removal Strategy for a Secure Homeland

Via: The Gazette:

More than 300 people here have already been arrested in what is being called the largest operation of its kind in Iowa, federal officials said this afternoon.

At 10 a.m., Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents entered Agriprocessors, Inc., as part of an ongoing investigation and to execute criminal search warrants for aggravated identify theft, fraudulent use of Social Security numbers and other crimes, as well as a civil search warrant to find people living illegally in the United States.

At a 2 p.m. news conference in Cedar Rapids, ICE spokesman Tim Counts said most of the arrests so far are for administrative immigration violations, although more information about the identities and jobs of those arrests are not being released at this time.

Those arrested are being held in Estel Hall at the National Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo, until at least Wednesday night, he said. Estel Hall, also known as Cedar Valley Expo, serves as the grounds’ merchant showroom.

The Agriprocessors raid has already netted the largest number of arrests carried out at a single location, Counts said. He would not say whether other companies or locations will be involved in the raid.

“I can only talk about today,” Counts said. “We can’t comment on any future investigations or activities.”

Investigation into activity at Agriprocessors began in October 2007, said Matt Dummermuth, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa. Officials would not answer more in-depth questions on the background of the raid or how it is being carried out.

ICE agents are asking detainees “several times” if they have medical, child care or other humanitarian needs, said Claude Arnold, ICE Special Agent in Charge. The interviews will help determine if those arrested will be detained or conditionally released on humanitarian grounds.

So far, 44 people have been released under supervision, mostly because they are the primary caregivers of children who have no other responsible adult to care for them.

Counts said the Department of Human Services was contacted before the raid began to provide services to families. A 24-hour information hot line at 1-866-341-3858 was established for family members to check on the status of the detainees.

An official update on the raid is expected at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Counts said 63 pages of the search warrants used in the raid have been released to explain more about the basis of the investigation, and government video of the inside of the holding facility is expected to be distributed.

Related: U.S. Immigration Raids Are About to Get Ugly


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