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Immigration Attorney: ICE Agents Increasing Enforcement in North County

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Aired 4/19/09

A San Diego immigration attorney says in the last 10 days, she's received twice as many calls as normal. She says many Latino residents in North County are terrified because Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, known as ICE, have detained their relatives and neighbors. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

Immigration attorney Lilia Velazquez says the stories callers are telling her are nearly identical.

Velazquez: The immigration officer had gone to their homes looking for someone else. They didn't find that someone else. So they arrested the husband or the relative instead. And they were very worried as to whether there was a special operation taking place or why was ICE staking out those places.

Velazquez says callers tell her agents often detain everyone at the house who can't show immigration papers. She says most of the calls have come from San Diego's North County.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said previously the agency periodically beefs up its efforts to detain people who have been ordered deported but are still in the country. Immigration officials would not comment further.

 Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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