A federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement surge conducted in Aurora over seven days last week and early this week resulted in the identification of twelve immigrants subject to deportation, ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok says.
From February 29 through March 6, ICE officers screened everyone arrested on criminal charges in Aurora "to identify deportable aliens," according to an earlier ICE statement. That's how the twelve were identified, Rusnok says.
They were not identified through the screening of summonses, Rusnok says. An earlier ICE statement said the agency would also be screening traffic summonses. The statement caused fear and outrage among immigrants and advocates, and prompted a vigil and a rally to protest what participants categorized as heavy-handed tactics. ICE later sent what it called a "corrected statement," which said officers were screening court summonses, not traffic summonses. Rusnok added that, "This screening of court summonses is accomplished periodically, and is not part of the CAP (criminal alien program) surge."
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However, the revision did little to assuage advocates' fears. They say the biggest casualty of the surge may be that many immigrants lost trust in law enforcement -- something the Aurora police have worked hard to build. "ICE came in without any regard for the relationships that they have formed with the community," Father Steve Adams of St. Pius X Catholic Parish in Aurora and Metro Organizations for People told Westword earlier this week. "They basically threw law enforcement under the bus."