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Networks form to detect immigration raids on workplaces

September 15, 2008 | 10:11 am

Reeling from work-site raids that have jailed thousands of illegal workers, immigration organizations are quietly assembling informal networks to gather advance information about federal enforcement operations and to help locals and laborers prepare, reports Nicole Gaouette from Washington.

"Students, union officials, waiters and others are volunteering to call in tips about Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents checking into hotels or renting facilities, about the sudden appearance of out-of-town cars and about a surge in action at the local courthouse.

""Is ICE going to tell us when they're coming? What they're doing? No," said Socorro Leos, a community organizer for Mississippi Immigrants' Rights Alliance. "You have to be working with the grass roots, on the ground, training them to be alert, to be very, very conscious, to open their eyes and senses.""

Last week, more than 51 illegal immigrants were arrested after a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a bakery in Palm Springs. One of the biggest raids carried out by ICE so far was on a meat-packing plant in Postville, Iowa, in May, in which nearly 400 people were arrested.

Read the rest of Nicole Gaouette's report on efforts to detect upcoming ICE raids here.

Click here for more on immigration.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

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