Un Dia Sin Fronteras

La Injusticia Para Uno Es La Injusticia Para Todos!

ICE Raid At Strawberry Days Near Aspen, CO






Article first published as ICE Raids Strawberry Fair Near Aspen; Children Cry During Fathers Day Event on Technorati


  The Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division office on Colorado’s Western slope has always been aggressive. However, the 2011 father’s day immigration raid conducted in the middle of the crowded Strawberry Days Festival at Glenwood Springs, in front of thousands of citizens and children, reveals an arrogant agency willing to put anyone at risk to win headlines.


According to Brendan Greene, the Western Slope Coordinator for the Colorado Immigrants Right’s Coalition (CIRC), the pre-planned raid went down on the crowded fair grounds.  With news spreading about the raid, some immigrants panicked and ran, with agents in hot pursuit. At least one person was tackled and arrested in front of shocked parents and children, the immigrant roughly treated, and hauled to a waiting ICE RV-Command Post.  Staging an immigration raid at a crowded fair frequented by the Latino community is like yelling fire in a crowded theater, except ICE took this reckless action on father’s day, when toddlers were sure to be present and at risk.

ICE-Raid, Strawberry Days, Immigration Reform, Glenwood Springs, CIRC


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ICE did not act alone in placing the public at peril. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office worked in tandem with ICE. In one case, according to an article written by CIRC attorney Alan Kaplan, two Garfield County Sheriff’s officers approached the Alvarez family waiting for their children to emerge from the Bouncy Castle Ride. Before the children could get off the ride, the officers led brothers Cesar and Julio Alvarez behind the Bouncy Castle for interrogation by under-cover ICE officials.  Once off of the ride, the 4 Alvarez children were forced to wait with an aunt and mother anxiously wondering what would happen to their daddy on Father’s day.


When the brothers did not come back from behind the Bouncy Castle ride, Julio’s wife, Lorenza Alvarez, 7-months pregnant, and a US born citizen, came looking. Despite the advanced pregnancy, she was treated “poorly”. After explaining Cesar was the only caretaker of 11 year old twins, he was released. Julio’s children were not going to spend the rest of the day with their father, ICE refused to release him. Mrs. Alvarez was so distraught she was transported to Valley View Hospital for emergency care.
Brendan Greene says the Glenwood Springs ICE office is “a rogue agency operating outside of it’s own directives not to conduct operations in sensitive locations.” An immigration raid in the middle of a county fair on Father’s Day placed not only immigrants at risk, it placed every US citizen, including toddlers and pregnant wives, at risk.




File photo Bouncy Castle


Additionally, the abusive ICE action destroyed any sense of trust the community had in the sheriff’s office. This was not a targeted operation seeking criminals, it was a wholesale roundup designed to place fear into a community already leery of law enforcement after outgoing Gov. Bill Ritter signed the Secure Communities accord marrying ICE data banks with local law enforcement computer systems.  The memorandum effectively turns every police officer into a potential ICE agent.  Illinois pulled out of the Secure Communities program because of ICE abuse, and Gov. Cuomo suspended New York’s participating in the program.
It is this kind of ICE action which causes legal immigrants to avoid certain states. The state of Georgia, for example, was unable to attract legal migrant workers after passing an ugly anti-immigrant law this year. Farmers say they will lose 300 million this year alone, and consumers will eventually pay the price at the market.  An attempt to replace migrants with prisoners failed when the prisoners began walkig off the job claiming it was too hard.

The Dream Act, currently in front of the US Senate, will form at least a partial solution to the problem undocumented workers face at the hands of unscrupulous police agencies. Under the Act, undocumented youth can join the military or go to college. Meanwhile, they will not be subject to deportation pending completing their part of the bargain. It is far from amnesty, because the Act requires a significant effort on student’s part in order to gain status.

Phone calls made to the Glenwood Springs ICE Office were not returned.  The ICE Public Affairs Officer, Carl Rusnok, refused to comment, insisting instead we send him an email.  A public response by an agent who was not at the scene would be coming shortly, he indicated.  Paul Maldonado, a high ranking Investigative officer was brusk on the phone today.  “Are you the person who left me two messages yesterday?” he asked in a scolding voice.

When he refused to answer questions about the actions of his officers I asked him, “So do you want me to tell people you refuse to talk to me?”

“No”, he responded, and finally with some respect in his voice, “I prefer you tell people I referred you to the PIO” (Click Here To Listen To Interveiw!).  That is the guy who insists I send him an email to get a report.

A Denver ICE officer, who said he could not comment, went over-board to distance himself from the actions of Western Slope ICE who conduct raids at carnivals on Father’s Day.  He was not in investigations so he could not speak for them.  I assume by his tone he was not excited about ICE raids in the middle of a crowded fair grounds on Father’s Day, but he could not say as much.

After 113 years of successful festivals, the Strawberry Days Festival in the city of Glenwood Springs near Aspen, Colorado, may need years to recover. The business community which sponsored the event likely will share huge losses. The fair grounds were nearly vacant on Sunday, usually the most popular and profitable day.

Worse, some children will remember father’s day, 2011, as the day their family was ripped apart by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office

and by ICE. Other US citizen children will remember it as the day the cops chased immigrants through the carnival on Father’s Day, and the resulting crying children and wives who would not have a father by the end of the day.  But, this after all, is what ICE views as free America. ICE is free to conduct raids, with no regard for the business interests of the community or the safety of the people who celebrate public festivals on Dad’s day.


 Un Dia Sin Fronteras



UPDATE:  Carl Rusnok, Western Public Information Coordiantor for ICE, says this was not an ICE raid at all.  Instead, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department “requested” ICE assistance for an area wide-gang crack down.  Rusnok was unable to explain why only three people were apprehended during the “area wide” sweep, why an ICE command post was placed at the carnival if this was an area sweep, or whether the sheriff’s officers who acted as ICE agents were trained.

Meanwhile, Rusnok refuses to add Un Dia Sin Fronteras to the media contact list, likely as a retaliatory action because he is displeased with my reporting.  Mr. Rusnok, when ICE only grants media access to press releases when the media white-washes bad ICE actions, then we cease to live in the free America you protect.

2 Replies

  1. admin Aug 1st 2011

    The content is original, the issue is very real. White wash this one and in a few years you could regret it, big time! Thanks for your post.


  2. admin Aug 1st 2011

    If you put in 8 hours a day working on your blog and fork out the money for a good server, you can have the same thing. Thanks for the post. Tim

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