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Mexican Consulate Investigating Illegals Roundup

Though the article calls the illegal aliens "immigrants."

From the Cincinnati Post:

Illegal aliens and their supporters protest at the Mexican Consulate in San Diego.

Consulate to investigate arrests

By Shelly Whitehead
Post staff reporter

The Mexican Consulate in Indianapolis has launched an investigation into the arrests of 76 Hispanic immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents Tuesday in Northern Kentucky.

Sergio Aguilera, consul of Mexico for Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Southern Illinois, confirmed Thursday that the consulate's Protection Division is working with local and federal authorities to ensure that the rights of all those arrested in the early morning sweep in Boone County are protected.

Aguilera said the consulate's initial information indicates that all the Hispanics arrested Tuesday are from Mexico, although court documents suggest several are from Guatemala.

The immigrants were arrested at homes and work sites as part of an investigation into Crestview Hills-based builder Fischer Homes. Four supervisors with the company are charged in U.S. District Court with harboring illegal immigrants for commercial advantage or financial gain, and a contractor is charged with helping to connect the workers to Fischer work sites.

The Hispanic construction workers are all still jailed, Aguilera said, in detention centers in Boone and Grant counties.

"We have a list of 76 Mexicans. … So, we need to now know where they are and who they are. Our staff will start making contact with them and finding out everything about these arrests and what their situation is, and knowing if they were properly advised and treated by officers in this situation," Aguilera said.

He said ICE has been giving the consulate information about the arrested "slowly, but surely."

International conventions mandate that the consulate be notified whenever immigrants are detained. He said consulate staff are working to contact all those being held in Northern Kentucky jails by phone to find out more about their individual situations.

Authorities allege that four Fischer Homes employees knew the Mexicans they hired to perform homebuilding jobs were in the U.S. illegally. The four pleaded not guilty at arraignments in U.S. District Court in Covington this week and have returned to their jobs, according to the company.

Aguilera said the immigrants arrested all remain in jail.

Gil Esparza, director of the Hispanic Resource Center in Covington, said he is trying to help family members of those detained understand the situation.

Esparza said he is also referring individuals to the Mexican Consulate to ensure their rights are protected.

"I get calls from people scared and crying saying, 'What do we do? What do we do?'" he said.

Some of those arrested, Esparza said, "had kids in school at the time and now they have no mother and father to go home to.… Then, immigration takes (those arrested) to jail, but nobody in jail speaks Spanish. … That's my concern. … I think it's right to go after the employer … but my people are just looking for freedom. They're looking for hope. My heart breaks for them."

Aguilera said he is concerned that the arrests are part of a growing trend that will put many more immigrants behind bars. He said it is unclear whether those arrested this week face deportation or jail time, if convicted. But, he said the shock waves of the immigrant "round-ups" are causing great concern among the Hispanic community.

"I think it is certainly strange that all of the sudden authorities are taking so much interest in companies that employ immigrants, and are now launching so many of these types of operations, because they probably knew this a long time ago," he said.

"Our concern is that these operations by immigration keep popping up everywhere and we don't know exactly what's going to happen. We would like to know if this is going to stop at some point. We are hopeful that the work of the Senate and Congress will result in some kind of immigration law, so that people that are in the middle of all these operations of immigration are not affected – that the law will allow them to stay here."

Indiana Rep. Carson gives new Mexican Consul Sergio Aguilera a hug as she welcomes him to Indianapolis.

(Thanks to Gila Monster for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, May 13th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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