Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Pedro Guzman Detained in Colorado Inn

Pedro Guzman is not the only one with an interesting story we have yet to hear (for previous postings, click on Guzman tag at bottom). ICE and their minions in the L.A. County jail need to come forward with a much better story about what happened than the one they've been sticking to so far, which is that Guzman said he was born in Mexico and requested to be sent there.

Among the many questions that deserve answers: why did the L.A. Custody Assistant routing Guzman out of the country address the Immigration Detention notice to "1st Choice Inns" in Glenwood Springs, Colorado?

This notice is generally sent to law enforcement agencies by the INS. The INS, often illegally, instructs jails and prisons to hold those suspected of being in the USA without documentation until the inmate is taken into custody by the INS.

This particular form for Pedro Guzman tells the addressee, which presumably should have been the L.A. County Jail, to "detain the provide adequate time for the INS to assume custody"; to "Notify this office of the time of release at least 30 days prior to release or as far in advance as possible"; and to "Notify this office in the event of the inmate's death or transfer to another institution."

Perhaps, I thought, 1st Choice Inns rents out space as a holding facility for the County jails or DHS. Perhaps one result of the new privatization of the government is that misidentified criminal aliens are sent to inns. So I looked up 1st Choice Inns online and gave them a call.

I asked to speak to a manager. The person who answered the phone identified herself as Natalie in Accounting and was very happy to answer my questions. According to her the Inn has never had any contracts with any government agency to house anyone. "We just wouldn't be prepared for that sort of thing," she said. I told her about the notice I was looking at, addressed to them and she confirmed the address and said she did not recall receiving such a notice and that if she had she probably would have thrown it away.

If this is just some sort of clerical error by the Sheriff's Department then at best it is a sign that they are sloppy in general and in the particulars of this case.

The DHS is not offering any explanation beyond their court filings. More on what the L.A. County Sheriff told me soon.

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