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Grand jury indicts 12 arrested in immigration raid
AP, April 18, 2008

BOISE - Federal officials say 12 of the 13 employees nabbed in an immigration raid at factory near Homedale earlier this month face a range of immigration and identity theft crimes.

Federal prosecutors say a grand jury has handed down indictments to 10 male and two female employees arrested April 2 at Specialty Incorporated Wood Products.

Authorities say the charges include possession of counterfeit alien registration receipt cards, misuse of Social Security numbers and identity theft.

Officials say five have already pleaded guilty and been deported. Trials for the others are scheduled in coming weeks.

The case was investigated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Boise.

U.S. Immigration officials arrest 13 illegal workers
By Jerry Manter for KBCI TV, April 3, 2008

HOMEDALE - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Wednesday arrested 13 foreign nationals who were working illegally at a pallet manufacturing company located in Homedale.

The illegal workers, officials say, were employed by Specialty Inc., Wood Products, will be placed in removal proceedings for violating U.S. immigration law.

All of those taken into ICE custody, including 10 males and three females, are Mexican nationals, officials say. Each of the workers was interviewed by ICE agents to determine if they had any medical, caregiver, or other humanitarian issues.

Authorities say the interviews assisted ICE in determining whether the individuals would be detained, or released on humanitarian grounds, while they await an immigration hearing.
Idaho County's Immigration Suit Rejected
By REBECCA BOONE for The AP, March 25, 2008

BOISE, Idaho - The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected an attempt by Canyon County to use federal organized crime laws to sue businesses that employ undocumented workers.

In the decision handed down Friday, a panel of three 9th Circuit judges ruled the county was unable to prove it suffered any harm as a result of businesses hiring undocumented workers.

The case began in 2005, when former Commissioner Robert Vasquez and current Commissioners Matt Beebe and David Ferdinand voted to have the county sue four businesses and a community leader, alleging the companies employed illegal workers who were running up the county's costs for schools, indigent medical care, jails and law enforcement. The four companies were accused of knowingly hiring hundreds of illegal immigrants, partly through agreements with worker recruiting companies.
Idaho Panel Rejects Immigration Bill
The AP, March 17, 2008

BOISE, Idaho — For the second time this year, Idaho lawmakers have killed a proposal that would have cracked down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

The Senate State Affairs Committee rejected a bill Monday similar to one that died in the House State Affairs Committee earlier this month.

The proposal would have required employers to verify workers' immigration status. Companies who failed to comply could have had their business licenses suspended or revoked.
Magic Valley dairies working on immigration reform
By Jared S. Hopkins for the Times-News, February 21, 2008

BOISE - Presidential candidates aren't the only ones with immigration on the mind.

The Idaho Dairymen's Association says it's forming a business coalition to address illegal immigration. Officials said the coalition will educate people and push for stable immigration policy on the national level.

“Immigration reform is important to the economy of Idaho and the United States,” said IDA Executive Director Bob Naerebout. “Our goal is to protect the borders but also to promote responsible immigration reform.”

“Either we can make it possible for temporary foreign workers to help us grow the food in the U.S. or they will stay in their country and grow food for the U.S.,” he said.
Action on immigration reform long overdue
By Frank Priestly, Idaho Farm Bureau president for Ag Weekly, February 18, 2008

American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman may have summed up our nation’s immigration situation best this week saying up to $9 billion in agricultural production and the nation’s food security are at risk if immigration laws are not reformed.

“Either we can make it possible for temporary foreign workers to help us grow the food in the U.S. or they will stay in their country and grow food for the U.S.,” he said.
Immigration raids spark anger in Sun Valley area One family of legal residents says they were terrorized. Agents arrested 21 people.
By Sandra Forester - 09/21/07

Federal agents swept through the Sun Valley area last weekend searching for undocumented immigrants and arrested about 21 people in the raids. One family with members who are U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents said they were terrified by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who came to their home in the predawn hours accompanied by Blaine County sheriff's deputies. No one in their home was arrested.

"They pounded on my door so hard that my walls shook," Dana Ayala, a Wood River Valley resident and U.S. citizen, told the Idaho Community Action Network. "My 19-year-old son opened the door to see what was happening, and six agents armed with guns, Tasers and flashlights pushed their way into my home."

Agents from the Boise ICE office did not return phone calls Thursday seeking information about what prompted the raids in the Sun Valley area now.

Blaine County sheriff's Detective Steve Harkins confirmed that deputies assisted ICE agents from a Boise fugitive unit who were seeking undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions or prior deportations or those who have remained in the country after being asked to leave. He said the raids began about 6 a.m. Saturday at homes and places of employment in Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum, but he would not say if or when the raids ended.

ICE agents also detained people who were not criminals but were unable to prove that they were U.S. citizens or legal residents, Harkins said.

Many of the detainees are being held in the Ada and Canyon county jails, he said.

Representatives of the Idaho Community Action Network denounced the raids and held a community meeting in Hailey Tuesday to hear from families involved.

"It is clear that ICE agents terrorized the community, including U.S. citizen children who were sleeping when the raid occurred," said Leo Morales, a community organizer for ICAN. "In several homes, children were left crying as ICE agents interrogated parents and hauled them away.

Testimonies gathered on Tuesday also indicated that in several instances ICE agents walked into the home looking for individuals not living there, then arrested the people in the home with no proof of immigration status.

In some instances, federal agents rushed into the house when a child opened the door."

ICAN contends the tactics used by federal agents are the result of Congress' failure to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"They never informed us who they were, they just barged into our house. They never showed us a warrant," Ayala told the Idaho Mountain Express.

She said the agents later told her that they were looking for a sexual predator with a Hispanic surname — someone she had never heard of, the Express reported.

Ayala said her children are U.S. citizens and her husband is a Mexican native who has legal residency in the United States.

She said the agents searched her home and questioned the occupants for about half an hour, were rude and abrupt and left her family traumatized, especially her 18-year-old daughter who is mentally disabled, the newspaper reported.

"You don't treat citizens that way," Ayala said. "Not even so much as an apology. That's crazy. If they would have contacted the Bellevue marshal's office first, they would have known who we are."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho is investigating the complaints to see whether civil rights may have been violated.

"I've not heard that anybody had a warrant," said Jack Van Valkenburgh, executive director of ACLU of Idaho.

"I'm trying to get the word out. You don't need to let (the agents) in if they don't have a warrant. I don't think that a lot of people understand their rights."

Van Valkenburgh said the ACLU may not be able to do much more. ICAN is working with the families involved, Morales said.