Immigration agents arrest 20 people in Austinby Sea Stachura, Minnesota Public Radio
Immigration and Customs officials arrested 20 illegal residents in Austin this week.
Austin, Minn. — ICE officials say the arrests Wednesday and Thursday are part of the department's interior enforcement strategy.
"This particular operation was focusing on those in the country illegally who also had other offenses on their records, specifically drunken driving and other convictions," says ICE spokesman Tim Counts.
Eight of the individuals arrested had prior convictions, including one man from Guatemala who has been deported three times already.
Centro Campesino, a migrant worker rights group, says many Latinos are not going to work or school out of fear of arrest.
Ernesto Bustos of Centro Campesino says officials forced their way into at least one home of a legal resident. He says immigration agents knocked on the door of a 65-year-old woman taking care of her grandchildren at 6:45 a.m.
"They never identified themselves. They never said, 'We're ICE agents or we're immigration agents,'" says Bustos. "One of the agents forced her to open the door. She is lawfully here. She has a visa."
ICE has been to Austin before to make immigration arrests, and Counts says it will likely return to the city in the future.