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The Strawberry Days Festival in Glenwood Springs is usually remembered as a treasured summer family event. This year, some children will also remember it as the day their family was ripped apart by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
As the Alvarez family was waiting for their children to come out of the Bouncy Castle, they were approached by a couple of Garfield County Sheriffs deputies who led the men away behind the carnival rides. While there, 2 plainclothes ICE agents approached, checked, and detained both men. Brothers Cesar and Julio Alvarez were then taken to an ICE van in the back of the fair, while their 4 children waited with their aunt and mother.
Lorenza Alvarez, Julio’s 7-months pregnant, US born wife, came looking for her husband and her brother-in-law and was treated poorly by agents as she explained that Cesar was the only caretaker of twin 11-year-old girls. Following an extended conversation, Cesar was released but Julio was taken away for processing at an ICE detention center in Glenwood Springs. The stress was almost too much for the pregnant Mrs. Alvarez, and she had to be taken to Valley View Hospital for emergency care.
Teaming up with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department, undercover ICE agents conducted this dragnet operation at a family fair on Father’s Day, in violation of their own operating regulations – which call on them to “refrain from conducting enforcement actions or investigative activities at or near sensitive community locations, such as schools, places of worship… and venues generally where children and their families may be present.”