Immigrant round-up reports unfounded


The Dalles Chronicle


Hood River News

April 29, 2006

Massive INS raids, sweeping through orchards, hauling away people by the busload? Agents checking IDs at banks, pulling people over on Interstate 84?

Not true, not true and not true.

That’s the official word from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), not to be confused with the old Immigration and Naturalization Service, which ended in 2003.

Late Thursday afternoon, the Hood River City Police Department, Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, and county 9-1-1 Dispatch Center confirmed that no ICE sweep was underway.

“The simple fact is that they are not taking any enforcement action here at this time,” said Jerry Brown, chief deputy for the Sheriff’s Office.

He said ICE has been assisting the local agency in an investigation involving fraudulent use of a social security number. Brown asked for help after a Hood River citizen reported that the IRS had kicked back his tax return because the social security number had been submitted by 18 different parties, one from Alabama and the other 17 residing in Oregon.

“Rumors like this have been widely reported all over the United States,” said Virginia Kice, Western Regional Communications Director/Spokesperson for ICE. “We have been seeking to dispel stories that are, on investigation, baseless.”

Kice said she’d been answering media inquiries about rumored raids and intimidation from Oregon, Nevada, Northern California, Utah and elsewhere in the 8-state western region.

The situation has reached the point where the agency has issued what it labels a “raid rumor statement.” That statement reads:

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the movement of people and goods in violation of the nation’s immigration and custom laws.

“ICE agents conduct operations every day in locations around the country as part of their efforts to protect the nation and uphold public safety. These operations are not random sweeps, but carefully-planned enforcement actions that result from investigative leads and intelligence.”

Kice said the rumors may have stemmed from news about a “nationwide worksite enforcement action” conducted on April 19 against IFCO Systems North America, Inc., the largest pallet services company in the United States headquartered in Houston, Texas.

As part of that activity, an official statement said, ICE agents conducted “consent” searches or executed criminal search warrants at more than 40 IFCO plants and related locations in 26 states that resulted in the apprehension of approximately 1,187 illegal alien IFCO employees.

That total included 21 apprehended in Portland.

The enforcement action was part of an investigation that began more than a year ago, the statement said.

Recent sharp political divisions over immigration policy, massive, televised demonstrations by immigrant groups, and the approach of May 1, a day targeted by some immigration rights groups for a potential labor boycott, may help create a climate of uncertainty that fuels the spread of such rumors.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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