Feds Won’t Deport Arrested O.C. Illegal Immigrant

Brian Rosenthal and Dena Bunis, Orange County Register, July 21, 2010

Federal immigration officials will not be taking custody of Antonia Rivera of Santa Ana and her fellow illegal immigrants arrested on Capitol Hill Tuesday for demonstrating for a bill that would give her and others brought to the United States as children the chance to live here legally.

“None of them have been referred to ICE,” said Gillian Brigham, spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “Our focus is on smart immigration enforcement that focuses first on criminal aliens and people who post the greatest threat to the communities.”

Rivera, 28, a graduate of UC Irvine, was arrested Tuesday along with 20 others. All were released by the end of the day Wednesday and will have to return to Washington next month for court appearances.

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Rivera was arrested in the Hart Senate Office Building along with 11 others who sat in a circle in the atrium of the building wearing graduation caps and gowns. Capitol Police asked them to move and when they refused they were arrested. They were charged with disorderly conduct.

Juan Escalante, a spokesman for the arrested students, said they are actually disappointed that they haven’t been turned over to federal officials because it would make their actions dramatic.

They came to the nation’s capitol to try and persuade lawmakers to move on the DREAM Act. {snip}

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When someone is taken into ICE custody it cost money and manpower, she said, to detain them, hold immigration court proceedings and deport them.

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