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December 22, 2014

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Immigration officials say raids failed to catch smugglers

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Steve Marcus

Michael Flores of ProgressNow Nevada speaks to a reporter following a community meeting Tuesday at the East Las Vegas Community Center. Cameras and electronic recording devices were barred from the meeting. The meeting was held to address concerns following immigration raids in July at local bus stations.

Feds hold community meeting

Latinos, including Emmanuel Corales, center left, Marco Hernandez, center, and Fernando Romero, president of Hispanics in Politics, talk following a community meeting Tuesday at the East Las Vegas Community Center. The meeting was held to address concerns following immigration raids in July at local bus stations. Launch slideshow »

On July 29, federal agents raided Las Vegas-area bus terminals, resulting in the arrest of more than two dozen suspected illegal immigrants.

On Tuesday night, members of the Hispanic community filled a small classroom at the East Las Vegas Community Center to find out from Immigration Customs Enforcement agents and Customs and Border Protection agents more details about the raids.

Some people said they were scared to even be in the same room as the agents. But they wanted to know: Did agents find what they said they were looking for that prompted the raids — “coyotes” or human smugglers, drug smugglers and victims of human trafficking?

The answer was no.

Paul Beeson, chief patrol agent of the Yuma sector for Customs and Border Protection, said the operation was to target “transportation hubs” that aid in smuggling. But the operation was cut short because of logistical and technological issues and lasted three to four hours.

“In that short period of time, we did not apprehend anybody we felt was actively engaged in alien smuggling,” Beeson said. “We did not encounter any human trafficking victims.”

The statement prompted Emmanuel Corrales, owner of the Las Vegas Shuttle Co., to ask, “Where is the intelligence?”

“Why didn’t you arrest human smugglers or drug traffickers?” Corrales asked the agents. “I really don’t buy it that you guys had intelligence. I think you guys came here to panic a community.”

“That’s right!” interjected community member Renald Ramoz, who drew applause from the room.

“It’s a joke,” Ramoz said after the meeting. “It’s pre-scripted. It’s a circus.”

The meeting began with a 30-minute moderated discussion in which Beeson answered submitted questions.

ICE Field Director Steven Branch and Richard Curry, an agent of the Homeland Security Investigative Branch, also were at the meeting.

In the last half hour, people were allowed to ask further questions, though they were encouraged to not speak about specific cases.

Vincenta Montoya, an immigration attorney representing one of those arrested in the raids, was vocal in her opposition to how the raids were handled.

“On what justification did you have to go to the bus stations here, having your ID hidden in your shirts and detaining them this far from the border?” Montoya said. “What you followed I do not believe was correct procedure. So far from the border there are different standards.”

Beeson defended the operation, saying it was based on intelligence about specific bus stations. He said there was no racial profiling.

“We did not target any particular community,” Beeson said. “We went to where the stations are located. That’s what we do, folks.”

But Corrales pointed out that the buses that were raided were headed south, making it illogical for them to be stopped if agents were looking for human smugglers. He also expressed frustration that he was asked for proof of his citizenship, even though he was just at his office doing work.

“We all look alike. If I’m going to my office, why should I prove I am a U.S. citizen for just working?” he said. “Why does John Smith not have to be asked for citizenship? You gotta be tall, blonde and blue eyes?”

Pastor Joel Menchaca of Amistad Christiana Church said he was disappointed about how the meeting turned out. He was also disappointed that news cameras were not allowed in the meeting.

“I feel that the people had a lot more questions, but they cut us short,” he said. “The people did not believe what they said.”

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  1. This may not be the place for those of us who hate bigots. But your ilk can't be allowed to breed, either.

    You just don't get it -- it's about the kind of freedom this republic was created to be a haven for. That's why the Declaration of Independence says we are all created equally, and born "with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." That's why the plaque in the base of the Statue of Liberty invites immigration with "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

    But you bigots would rather encourage this police state to expand rather than cultivate the very reasons for our republic's existence. Remember that next time you put your hand over your heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I hope something in each of you stings hard when you get to the part about "liberty and justice for all."

    "It behoves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush, April 21, 1803

  2. The sad part is many Hispanics feel they do not have to show ID to law enforcement. Blacks and "legal Hispanics" know you must show your ID if your asked by an authority of the law. The Latin Chamber of Commerce and other Hispanic organization are encouraging Hispanic to be defiant of the law by not speaking out and telling the Hispanic community this is normal process for an authority of the law to ask for your ID. You must show ID when you are ask--Period! Even if you feel you are being harassed, Blacks have been dealing with this for years, but they show their ID. At least the one that have nothing to hide, Hispanics or Blacks or anyone.

  3. "KillerB.....then you need to personally pay for all the illegals education..."

    Noindex -- why?

    "KillerB are you trying to tell me that just because the laws that stand today weren't here in the 1800's we don't have to obey them today."

    fremmasmind -- yup, with this qualification: the Bill of Rights hasn't changed, and every law must first conform to those limitations. Why do you need this explained to you? This is We the People vs. Police State 101 -- don't you know anything about this republic?

    As for who I am, you can stuff your suspicions --I had ancestors on the Mayflower. If I cared a bit about the opinions from your ilk I might actually feel the need to defend myself. It's more fun just messing with you.

    "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac H Tiffany (1819)

  4. "Whether she realizes it or not ICE can stop anyone anytime and that is that. Just what did she not learn in law school."

    homer -- right, that's why the federal government is suing Arizona on their new anti-anyone-dark law.

    Without bigots like you here it wouldn't be nearly so much fun to post. My last post above yours applies to you in spades.

    Ms. Montoya is an angel for using her education to help others. You should read the Bill of Rights before posting again -- maybe then you won't seem so ignorant.

    "Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rulemaking or legislation which would abrogate them." -- Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491 (1966)

  5. gbigs -- you keep missing the point of this article, so you're irrelevant again.

    It's obvious the feds went on a fishing expedition. They didn't get what they said they were after, it was just another one of those Kansas City Shuffles -- an excuse to do Constitutionally-shaky stops, searches and seizures.

    "In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means - to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal - would bring terrible retribution." -- Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928), Justice Brandeis dissenting

  6. "No Killer, the Bill of Rights and our constitution have amendments, the laws in context have changed."

    fremmasmind -- show me one. And declaring "context" is the exclusive province of the courts. I see you cited nothing, therefore you have nothing.

    "...the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table." -- District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783 (06/26/2008)

  7. "All they are doing is enforcing laws that were always in place to begin with. They are just doing their jobs."

    Avitech -- no they're not. Pay attention and be relevant!

    "Fear is the foundation of most governments." - John Adams, 1776 "Thoughts on Government"

  8. "Is it against the law for our police, troopers, FBI,etc. not to enforce the law?"

    fremmasmind -- I see you left out anything referring to their oaths. You might want to start that inquiry @ http://oathkeepers.org/

    I see you also ignored that Jefferson quote about laws being the tyrant's will.

    "Let us dare to read, THINK, speak, and write." -- John Adams "A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law," from "The Works of John Adams" (1851) volume 3, page 462 (my emphasis added)

  9. "Why does this community tolerate this illicit behavior by these low-lifes?"

    pdxjim -- could it possibly be the First Amendment?

    You from/in Portland?

  10. PBMcWatt -- see the above quotes from the U.S. Supreme Court's Miranda v. Arizona and Heller. "inalienable God given right" trumps conflicting laws every time.

    "You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free." -- Clarence Darrow, Address to the Court, The Communist Trial (1920)

  11. fremmasmind -- I see when someone disagrees with you, you degenerate to insults and slander. That makes you irrelevant here and to any reasonable Discussion -- expect to be disrespected and ignored.

  12. fremmasmind -- why is it so hard for you to grasp the concept an unConstitutional law has no legal effect?

    The tyranny part -- which Jefferson understood, as shown by the quote above -- comes in because that doesn't for a second stop either legislatures (including Congress) from making them or police enforcing them. This is nothing new:

    "The Government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right ..... Certainly all those who have framed written Constitutions contemplate them as forming the fundamental and paramount law of the nation, and consequently the theory of every such government must be that an act of the Legislature repugnant to the Constitution is void." -- Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 164, 177 (1803)

  13. "Only America has fools that don't get it. Count yourself among them."

    richka -- why exactly? As for invading other countries, I'd recommend reading about Smedley Butler. Wikipedia is a good place to start.

    pmmart -- I don't engage in Discussions with buffoons. Either post something relevant or expect, here as there, to be disrespected and ignored.

    "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902--1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents." -- Major General Smedley Butler, a Marine and one of only 19 people to be TWICE awarded the Medal of Honor, from a 1935 issue of the socialist magazine "Common Sense"