Immigration raid rumors spread across the Valley

May 11, 2013 12:01:17 AM PDT
Immigration raid rumors have spread from one end of the Valley to the other.

Friday local leaders took some time to separate rumor from fact, to try to calm nerves in our community.

Rumors of a migrant worker roundup have struck fear into several communities such as Madera. Word spread ICE agents were on the move looking for undocumented workers.

"People are worried," said Rodriguez. "They're getting phone calls, they're getting text messages that they're doing checkpoints."

But there were no checkpoints at railroad crossings. Or roundups at a Walmart store.

Farm labor contractor George Rodriguez began fielding questions from workers several weeks ago.

"Everyone was talking about the swap meet," said Rodriguez. "Them picking up 800 people at a swap meet and they were in the Madera area and headed south to the Dinuba, Reedley, Kingsburg area."

Last Friday workers at a Valley packing house walked off the job because of a false rumor.

Manuel Cunha with the Nisei Farmers League said, "135 workers left because a phone call came in and said ICE was down the road coming to their packing house."

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says ICE has not been conducting any mass raids in Valley fields or anywhere else. "I personally spoke to homeland security this morning and asked if this was happening and was told absolutely not."

Sheriff Mims is worried someone might be rounding up people under the guise of law enforcement.

Local leaders from the Hispanic community, Ag industry and law enforcement gathered to try to calm fears.

The impact has hit many neighborhoods hard with some people afraid to go out in public.

Sandra Mendoza with the Mexican Consulate said, "People canceling appointments with their doctors or just stopping from sending their kids to school. This is absolutely just a rumor."


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