Fear of violent backlash prevents authorities from arrests, deportations.
By CHRIS ECHEGARAY The Tampa Tribune
Published: Apr 28, 2007
TAMPA - At pro-immigration rallies here and nationwide Tuesday, a number of illegal immigrants will admit to their status, holding signs touting their work ethic, sharing stories of arduous border crossings from Mexico.
They won't be touched by authorities, leaving immigration critics baffled as to why agents will not arrest people who entered the country illegally and admit to it in public.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents don't do random sweeps, spokesman Marc Raimondi said. They conduct targeted operations.
"They are based on investigations and intelligence geared toward fugitive aliens, egregious violators, significant threats to public safety and national security," Raimondi said.
Having illegal immigrants in the streets is a threat, said Pam Hill of Brandon, a member of the Minutemen Florida Corps, which opposes illegal immigration. She said police should do their jobs by deporting them.
"It's not immigration - it's an invasion," Hill said. "If police could arrest people for other minor things, they can arrest them for this."