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  1. #1
    Senior Member Skip's Avatar
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    ESCONDIDO, CA : Group issues travel advisory for Escondido



    REGION: Group issues travel advisory for Escondido

    Police chief says advisory is 'false and misleading'


    By EDWARD SIFUENTES - esifuentes@nctimes.com
    Posted: July 13, 2010 7:09 pm

    Advocates who have criticized Escondido's close working relationship with immigration authorities took the unusual step Tuesday of issuing a travel advisory for the North County city.

    Escondido's police chief, Jim Maher, sharply rejected the advisory's criticisms.

    People who plan to travel to the city should be aware that they could be subject to "unreasonable detentions" and "interrogation by federal immigration agents," according to the advisory issued by El Grupo, a North County-based coalition of human rights advocacy groups.

    While the advisory does not warn against travel to Escondido, it says people should get to know their rights in case they are questioned by police or immigration agents.

    "Escondido city officials inexplicably continue to indulge their anti-immigrant obsession by giving the appearance of a campaign of fear aimed at ridding Escondido of its undocumented residents," according to El Grupo's advisory.

    Maher said it is the advocates who are instilling fear among the city's illegal immigrant community. He said illegal immigrants do not need to fear the department's police officers unless they have committed a crime other than their unauthorized entry into the country.

    "I feel that it (the advisory) is filled with false and misleading information," Maher said.

    In mid-May, the department started a partnership with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement allowing two immigration agents to work with the department to identify and deport criminal illegal immigrants.

    Escondido is the only city in the county that has this kind of a partnership with ICE. The agency has agents working in the county's jails helping to screen inmates for immigration violations.

    Since the partnership began, the agents have helped police identify 114 criminal immigrants in the city, including several child molesters, people with multiple drunken driving convictions, drug dealers and burglars, Maher said.

    At least one other agent has worked with the department's anti-gang unit since 1992, helping to deport gang members who are in the country illegally, Maher said.

    Victor Torres, a criminal defense attorney and a spokesman for El Grupo, said the city has a history of anti-immigrant policies, including its failed efforts to bar landlords from renting to illegal immigrants and its frequent use of checkpoints to catch unlicensed drivers, many of whom are illegal immigrants.

    The travel advisory alleges that immigration agents accompany Escondido police officers on searches to the homes of people on probation. While police officers search the homes, immigration agents check the immigration status of other residents, an allegation that Maher said is false.

    Maher said immigration agents go along on operations with the department's gang unit, but they do not question other people's status.

    "From the time that I became chief, we have had an understanding that they (immigration agents) do not interrogate what are known as collaterals," Maher said. "We've had that rule and nothing has changed."

    Nevertheless, Torres said the department's close working relationship with ICE is creating an atmosphere of fear in the city's immigrant community. He said the department needs to clarify and explain its partnership with immigration authorities.

    "All we know is what we hear," Torres said. "That's part of the problem."

    Travel advisories have traditionally been used by the U.S. Department of State to warn travelers of trouble spots around the globe.

    Late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a travel advisory for Arizona to protest that state's new immigration law, which requires police officers to check people's immigration status if they are suspected of being in the country illegally after they have been stopped for some other reason.

    Call staff writer Edward Sifuentes at 760-740-3511.

    NORTH COUNTY TIMES

  2. #2
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Great news! The more these illegal aliens and their supporters warn people about this and that, the more illegals are going to bail out of those areas and in some cases the USA.

    Yes, spread the word "we are going to catch you!"

    W
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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