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Immigration officials open controversial office in Greeley

Monte WhaleyThe Denver Post

GREELEY – A controversial U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office officially opened Wednesday in Greeley with a pledge to aid in stopping crime and to not trample on the rights of anyone in the U.S. legally.”The local immigrant communities, the advocacy groups should not expect some sort of drastic increase in our immigration-related operations,” said Kumar Kibble, Denver ICE special agent in charge.In fact, said Kibble, “everyone should realize, immigration is half our mission.”He noted that ICE agents also investigate gangs, drugs and weapons sales and worksite violations as well as the child sex trade. “There is no shortage of work.”The ICE office is in an office complex in west Greeley and includes worker cubicles, interview rooms and two 16-by-12-foot holding cells.Officials declined to reveal the number of ICE agents who will be responsible for investigations in northeast Colorado. Several local law enforcement officials – including Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck – advocated for the facility, saying it was needed to help stem the tide of law-breaking committed by illegal immigrants in the area.”I can say to the community that the idea that we will have some sort of unconstitutional conduct in our communities is absolute nonsense,” said Buck, who attended the opening Wednesday.Local Latino advocate Sylvia Martinez, however, said the ICE office is unnecessary and causes anxiety among many Latinos in Greeley.They still remember the 2006 raid at the JBS Swift & Co. plant in Greeley in which workers were separated from their families and detained for months.”How could this not cause fear in the community?” she said.Monte Whaley: 720-929-0907 or mwhaley@denverpost.com


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