ICE agents visit Northampton as part of ‘routine enforcement activity’

  • In this photo taken Feb. 7, 2017, released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arrest is made during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens in Los Angeles. ICE agents visited Northampton on Tuesday looking for an indivdiual at Hampshire Heights. Northampton Police were notified of the search but were not asked to participate. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

@amandadrane
Published: 5/24/2017 6:32:33 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Officials from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, uniformed and armed, visited the city on Tuesday.

Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for the agency, said the “routine enforcement activity” was unplanned.

Rose Bookbinder, an organizer with the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, said Wednesday that no one was taken into custody when ICE officers went to Hampshire Heights, a cluster of apartments operated by the Northampton Housing Authority.

The officers were looking for one individual they had information on, said Bookbinder, who was contacted as part of the rapid response network established by the center to protect the rights of undocumented workers.

“They were doing what appears to be a targeted search for particular individual,” Bookbinder said. “They went to one location (Hampshire Heights) looking for one person.”

Captain John Cartledge of the Northampton Police Department said ICE alerted the department Tuesday morning that they would be in Northampton.

“This is common practice when other law enforcement entities are working in our city,” he said, adding ICE did not request any assistance.

Bookbinder said there’s also been recent ICE activity in Springfield. She said the visits are prompting “reverberations of fear.”

“We’re asking if folks see something suspicious they call the workers center,” she said. “We have folks ready go to out and respond at the drop of a hat.”

She said members of the response team include legal experts, faith leaders and advocates. She said the goal of the network is to help ensure immigrants’ constitutional rights are honored.

“What’s really amazing in this moment is everyone is looking out for each other,” she said.

For those interested in rapid response methods, Bookbinder said the center is hosting a free training session on June 2, from 5 to 8 pm., and to follow the center on Facebook for more information.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@gazettenet.com.




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