Jan 27 2007 4:30 AM
Six arrested immigrants face deportation
ICE declines to release names of the incarcerated
By Elizabeth Putnam

DANBURY -- Federal agents arrested six people Wednesday in Danbury on various immigration violations, a U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement spokeswoman confirmed Friday.
ICE would not release any names but did confirm that Tereza Pereira and Inablio Confelho, both from Brazil, were among the six people taken into custody.

"We don't make names public, but if you have a name, we can confirm whether or not they were taken into custody," ICE spokeswoman Paula Grenier said.

According to ICE, three of the people arrested had deportation warrants for their arrests, including Pereira and Confelho. The other three were arrested on other immigration violations, which could include criminal backgrounds or that agents found them to have no papers documenting their legal status.

Grenier said she could not release more specific information on the arrests and declined to comment on ICE's process of arresting the six people. She also would not comment on whether ICE was looking for more than the six arrested Wednesday.

Wilson Hernandez, founder and past president of the Ecuadorean Civic Center in Danbury, said he did not know who the other four are, but he is working to track down information within the Hispanic community.

Maria-Cinta Lowe, director of the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury, could not be reached for comment.

Emanuela Lima, executive director of the Portuguese-English newspaper Tribuna, said she is not aware of any other arrests in Danbury's Brazilian community.

Confelho, who has lived in the United States for eight years, remains incarcerated in a state or county facility. The exact facility is not known. He likely will be deported.

Pereira, who has lived in the United States for 19 years, is at a jail in Maine, said Michael Boyle, an immigration lawyer who is representing Pereira and working to have her released on bail.

Boyle said he is not sure why ICE chose to arrest Pereira on Wednesday, but said ICE's arrests are based on a list of people who have violated immigration laws.

ICE agents also usually arrest people they encounter, if those people cannot prove they are in the United States legally, Boyle said.

Boyle plans to file a motion no later than Wednesday that he hopes will reopen Pereria's case.

Pereira, a 42-year-old homeowner in Danbury who has two American-born children, started working toward legal status in 1997 with a Hartford-based lawyer. In 2000, she applied for a special exception that would allow her to stay because she has been here for more than 10 years and has an established a family.

But after various clerical errors made by her previous attorney over the course of at least three years, the Board of Immigration Appeals dropped her case in 2004 and ordered her removal, according to Boyle.

Boyle's game plan now is to show an immigration judge that Pereira's deportation would cause "immense hardship" on her two children -- Thiago, 15, who is a student at Danbury High School, and Brian, 6.

"We have to show life impairments to these children if their mother is deported, which could mean that they, too, go to Brazil," Boyle said.

But immigration law is stricter today than it was a decade ago, and Boyle said Pereira's case isn't easy.

"You never know with ICE," he said.

ICE arrested Pereira and Confelho on Wednesday evening at Pereira's Skyline Terrace home. Family and friends of both Pereira and Confelho said agents had Thaigo Pereria call his mother on her cell phone and ask her to come home. Once she arrived, she was arrested.

Confelho was at the Pereira's home configuring estimates for a construction project in the basement.