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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    CA - HOME GARDENS: Day labor immigration roundup alleged

    January 25, 2013; 12:30 PM

    Immigrant labor supporters hold up signs at a roadside news conference Friday, Jan. 25, in Home Gardens calling attention to claims that the Border Patrol has been rounding up day laborers.

    A coalition of labor and immigrant rights groups contend that the U.S. Border Patrol is targeting day laborers in the Home Garden area east of Corona in an immigration crackdown they say runs counter to Obama administration priorities.

    “These people, day laborers, are family-oriented people,” said Emilio Amaya, executive director of the San Bernardino Community Services Center, which provides legal aid to immigrants in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

    Such workers are not criminals or terrorists, he said. “We are questioning why the Border Patrol is targeting these people.”

    The coalition held a roadside news conference in Home Gardens on Friday morning, Jan. 25, that Amaya said was to make the public aware of the roundups in hopes of stemming the practice.

    A Border Patrol spokesman said agents don’t target day laborers except under extenuating circumstances, such as in response to a warrant indicating that a wanted criminal may be at a specific location.

    Organizers of the news conference contend that President Barack Obama wants immigration officials to concentrate on rounding up undocumented immigrants who commit crimes after entering the country or pose a threat to national security.

    “Their job is to follow the federal priorities that the Obama administration has laid out,” said Suzanne Foster, executive director of the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, which works with day laborers in the Inland Empire and Pomona.

    “It’s not within their priorities to target a very small day laborer corner where there are no criminals; only people who are looking for work,” she said.

    Jerry Conlin, a spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection’s San Diego Sector, declined to address the Obama administration’s priorities.


    The coalition’s news conference in a light rain Friday morning was held a short distance from “el pino,” a large pine tree near the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and 6th Street, where about 20 people gather each day to be picked up as day laborers by local employers.

    They held protest signs and shouted in Spanish, “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”

    Speakers, including an immigrant in the process of seeking legal resident status, alleged that Border Patrol agents based in Murrieta have rounded up about 25 suspected undocumented immigrants in Home Gardens over the past two weeks.

    “I am drawing attention to the fact that the Border Patrol is here, a good distance from the border, searching out day laborers who are simply looking for work to feed their families,” said Debbie Leantz, a Corona resident, parent and teacher.

    “It is an environment of terror for everybody,” she said.

    Conlin, the Customs and Border Protection spokesman, said by phone Friday: “We have no record of this. No one has a record of any agents patrolling or enforcing anything in that area.”

    Foster said eyewitnesses reported seeing green uniforms with Border Patrol insignia in white vans with green stripes. Conlin acknowledged that the descriptions sounded correct and said he would do more research.


    Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said through an interpreter that his organization will make a Freedom of Information Act request to find out what enforcement operations the Border Patrol has been involved in and how many people have been removed from the country.

    He told the crowd that day laborers in New Orleans sent him messages saying they too have been targeted.

    Meinardo Martinez Romero, a laborer who works in a shopping center in the Home Gardens area, said through an interpreter that he was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents in the shopping center parking lot on Jan. 11.

    He said he has worked at the shopping center for 22 years, has four citizen children and has no criminal history. While he is in the process of petitioning for legal resident status, Romero said, he did not have documents to show the agents.

    He said he was placed in a van and taken to the pine tree, where more undocumented immigrants were rounded up. He said he was taken eventually to a San Ysidro border station. He was released after immigration agents interceded on his behalf.

    College student and undocumented immigrant Maria Rodriguez, 19, of Home Gardens, said some immigrant parents are afraid to take their children to school for fear they will be forced to leave the country.

    Rodriguez, whose parents brought her to the United States when she was 3, is pursuing legal status under the Dream Act, which excuses children brought to this country at a very young age, from being forced to leave.

    Dream Act-like deportation exclusions “need to be extended to other individuals who do not necessarily qualify under the Dream Act,” she said.

    HOME GARDENS: Day labor immigration roundup alleged | Corona, Norco, Eastvale News | - Press-Enterprise
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)
    HOME GARDENS: Border Patrol looking into allegations of targeting day laborers

    Posted on | January 26, 2013

    The Customs and Border Protection’s San Diego sector has promised to look into complaints voiced by labor and immigration advocates that Border Patrol agents are targeting day laborers in Home Gardens.

    “CBP is committed to enforcing the nation’s laws according to established policies and guidelines,” Chief Patrol Agent Paul Beeson is quoted in an email from a Border Patrol spokesman. “We are looking into news reports regarding enforcement actions referenced in the news conference.”

    He was referring to the roadside news conference held Friday in Home Gardens near a large pine tree where day laborers, including some undocumented immigrants, gather in hopes of being recruited for day jobs.

    A coalition of labor and immigrant rights groups claimed that about 25 suspected undocumented immigrants have been rounded up by Border Patrol agents over the last two weeks. One immigrant who spoke at the news conference said he was taken to a Border Patrol staiton in Murrieta and then on to a border station in San Ysidro. He said he is in the process of obtaining legal resident status and was eventually released when an immigration advocate interceded on his behalf.

    Border Patrol critics say the alleged roundups run counter to Obama administration priorities that do not put a premium on pursuing workers who have lived in the United States for years, do not commit crimes after crossing the border and are working to support their families.

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