ICE Targeting Immigrants In Worthington
February 27, 2008, 5:28 PM
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents caused a stir again Wenesday when they returned to Worthington, Minnesota. They say they're doing targeted enforcement operations in Worthington, Minnesota, and it comes more than a year after agents raided the Swift meat packing plant in town looking for illegal immigrants.
Immigration officials aren't saying too much about Wednesday's work other than that it's different from what happened at the Swift plant. This time around, ICE agents are targeting specific homes and individuals. And while authorities won't say much more than that, people in the community have a lot to say about the growing Hispanic population in Worthington.
Bob Emary has lived in Worthington, Minnesota for more than forty years. But in the past several years he's watched his community change.
Worthington resident Bob Emary says, "We certainly have changed our population and diversity."
And that diversity is what brought immigration agents to the Swift meat-packing plant more than a year ago and back to town again Wednesday.
Emary says, "They're here to make a living that's why they're here."
Worthington resident Joel Chamonica says, "It doesn't matter if you are a citizen or not, as long as you're not white they will treat you different."
Joel Chamonica has lived in Worthington for ten years and says it doesn't matter whether you're living in the U.S. legally or not. He notices the Hispanic discrimination in town.
Chamonica says, "Because they come from other countries you going to say they're bad, you have to know people are persons."
Back in Emary's neighborhood, he says the Hispanic family that lives next door to him are the best neighbors he's had, and hopes others don't judge the entire Hispanic population in Worthington based on this latest round of raids.
Emary says, "I think we're pretty much all the same. Some of us are bad and it doesn't make much difference where we originate from."
Because Emary knows the diversity in Worthington is now a part of this Southwest Minnesota town.
ICE says it is also targeting people in the Sioux Falls area. Tuesday, the agency announced it arrested 225 aliens in six other Midwestern states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois, during a four day operation. It was part of an effort to arrest "fugitive aliens" who did not follow a federal immigration judge's order to leave the country.
However, officials say that operation and the one in Worthington Wednesday are not connected. ICE says they will have more information on the operation in Worthington when agents are done with their enforcement.
© 2008 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.