PHOENIX (CN) – Most undocumented immigrants arrested during the highly publicized “Return to Sender” raids in Northern Arizona had no criminal records, the ACLU says, citing documents it received in response to a FOIA request. More than 50 addresses agents used were more than 10 years old, which discomfited innocent families who were visited by the task force, the ACLU says.
The raids were carried out in November 2008, seeking 125 specific immigrants, and the ACLU demanded documents on the operations conducted in Flagstaff, Sedona and Prescott. The documents show that only 14 of the 80 people who were arrested had previously been deported and only 2 of the 14 had criminal convictions.
The documents also show that 23 of the 80 arrests were made at workplaces or homes and 18 arrests were the result of two smuggling loads stopped on Interstate 17. Twenty-four people were arrested on criminal arrest warrants at a trailer park in Sedona.
The ACLU says the document show that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and Prescott Police Department relied on outdated addresses to look for fugitives.
The ACLU says that ICE agents deceived some immigrants into believing that the only option they had was to sign a voluntary removal agreement.