Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More Protests Coming After Federal Raid

U.S. Attorney's Office To Announce Charges In Alleged Fake ID Ring

(CBS) CHICAGO The U.S. Attorney's office is preparing to announce charges in the federal raid at a discount mall in the Little Village neighborhood.

Meanwhile, as CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman reports, activists plan to continue their protests that began on Tuesday after the raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs agents and representatives of several other agencies. Sixteen people were arrested in a suspected fake ID ring.

"We ask you to be with all of the families who've been agitated by this act of aggression in our community," an activist said during a protest on Tuesday.

Several dozen people stood together on Tuesday after the raid at the strip mall at 26th Street and Albany Avenue.

Federal agents said the target was a ring that counterfeits and sells immigration documents in the area. But many people complained that others who had nothing to do with counterfeiting were also arrested.

They took issue with the show of force, and they way they said they were treated."They came out here and they had these big guns and they were looking for people under cars and in the stores," said witness Jesus Figueroa.The local alderman also took issue with the methods used in the raid.

"It's a show of force. We believe it was done to intimidate this community. We can’t see it any other way," said Ald. George Cardenas (12th). "The number of people involved in this operation is just overwhelming."

Witnesses say up to 200 agents stormed the mall, locking it down and asking everyone inside and in the parking lot for IDs.Sources tell CBS 2 that 100 people or more have been detained. Ultimately, at least 16 were arrested on accusations of selling fraudulent documents to illegal immigrants."

(They were) selling illegal papers to immigrants so we can work, basically. That’s all we buy them for, is to work," said Little Village resident Luz Nolasco. "But apparently that’s against the law and God forbid we help America!"

One notification received by CBS 2 denounced the SWAT-style response team, and how agents locked the doors and sealed entrances and exits at the mall to make their arrests.That release also said, "Their actions are clear – (to) disrespect our community and children and to intimidate us."

The U.S. Attorney's office is expected to comment later Wednesday morning.

CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman contributed to this report.
(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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