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ICE Agents Raid Strawberry Festival and Arrest Two Fathers in Front of Children

by Van Le on 06/22/2011 at 2:17pm

strawberry days festival

Outrageous news out of Glenwood Springs, Colorado today.  From the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition:

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.”

A team of agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reportedly swept through a corner of the Strawberry Days festivities on Saturday, rounding up two or possibly three suspects.
According to Glenwood Springs attorney Karen McCarthy, the ICE agents picked up at least two people, including Julio Alvarez, 30, and his brother, Cesar Alvarez, 33, at the carnival in West Glenwood.
According to the wife of Julio Alvarez, Lorenza Alvarez, who is seven months’ pregnant, the agents released her brother-in-law, Cesar Alvarez, because he is a single father of twin 11-year-old girls.
 
Julio, who is stepfather to two young children, was detained and is “likely to be deported” back to Mexico, his home country, McCarthy said. […]
 
McCarthy, who often works on immigration issues, said she has heard that the agents arrested at least three people, and that agents were spotted chasing one man through the carnival area on Saturday.
Lorenza Alvarez, who said she witnessed the ICE agents take her husband and his brother, said the three were standing in the carnival grounds when they were approached.
“We weren’t doing anything wrong. We were waiting for the kids to get off the rides,” said Alvarez, who said she was born in Aspen.
She said two Garfield County deputies walked up, took Julio and Cesar by the arm, and lead them away behind the funhouse. 
“Immigration was waiting there for them,” she said. “They said they singled them out because of the way they were dressed.”

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