Thursday, March 22, 2007

Deportation case riles residents

Aww what a shame.. an employer actually did the RIGHT THING and reported an illegal alien to ICE and the illegal alien is upset?

TOO FREAKING BAD! Illegal aliens know the risks of being here illegally. If you get caught - bye bye!
STAMFORD - In a case that one
lawyer says involves substandard wages, an attempted assault with a car
and deceptive tactics by immigration officials, a Guatemalan cleaning
woman faces deportation.

Alicia Lemus, 40, who works at several North Stamford homes, was served
a summons yesterday to appear Tuesday before immigration officials in
New Haven to determine whether she can stay in the country.

An immigration agent served Lemus with the summons yesterday at a North Stamford home where she sometimes cleans.

Lemus contacted her lawyer, Philip Berns, who called a news conference to condemn his client's treatment.

Although Berns declined to say what Lemus' legal status is, Lemus told
The Advocate in November that she was in the United States illegally.
Living in the country illegally is a civil violation.

Lemus spoke with the newspaper last year for a story on immigration
enforcement and said she had lost several jobs in North Stamford after
immigration officials warned homeowners not to hire illegal immigrants.

Two immigration agents at the home where Lemus was served a summons yesterday declined to comment.

"We would never discuss why an investigation was started or what led to
the investigation until it's complete. It was all very routine . . .
the kind of thing that happens every day," said Mike Gilhooly,
spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Berns said during the news conference that Lemus' former employer,
another resident, alerted immigration officials
after Lemus quit over poor pay and working conditions.

Lemus could no longer support herself off the "eight hours of work for
$20 a day" wages she was earning from the employer and quit after four
months, Berns said.

Berns said the former employer had coerced Lemus into cleaning her
house for meager pay by threatening to call U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement if she didn't oblige.

On Monday, Lemus filed a complaint with Stamford police reporting that
the former employer, identified as Kalena Malanoski, tried to run her
over as she walked to a bus stop that morning.

The police report said Malanoski tried to hit Lemus with her car as she drove by.

A phone call to Malanoski was not returned last night.

According to the police report, Malanoski denied the allegations and
told police Lemus had "exaggerated" the incident because of bad
feelings about being fired, Sgt. Robert Shawinsky said.

In the report, Malanoski told police she let Lemus go after learning she was an "illegal alien," Shawinsky said.

Police said that because there were no witnesses and no one was
injured, no arrests were made and no charges were filed. The incident
remains under investigation, spokesman Lt. Sean Cooney said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement had not informed Stamford police of
its activities in the city yesterday, Stamford police said.

Berns said it was "galling" that immigration officials would react to
an alleged tip from a former employer and said immigration officials
are targeting harmless foreigners who may or may not be in the country
illegally, instead of illegal immigrants with criminal records and
terrorist ties.

"I can't believe the Department of Homeland Security has nothing better
to do but persecute the lowest and most hard-working population," he
said. Owners of the home where Lemus was served yesterday were not home
at the time. But Martha Farias, mother of the homeowner, Vivian
Villacis, was there with Lemus when the immigration agents arrived.

Farias said one agent, Seth Taylor, barged through the door.

"He rang the bell and came in," she said.

Berns said the agent who served Lemus the papers yesterday did not
properly identify himself and tried to force information from Lemus.

Lemus, who speaks little English, stood silently by Berns, allowing him
to speak for her. Berns is a member of the city's Board of

"I was treated like a criminal," Lemus told a television news reporter in Spanish.

Farias was sympathetic toward Lemus, who has cleaned several houses on
that street for the past two years, according to Berns.

"She needs money to eat. She doesn't have work," Farias said.

- Staff Writer Zach Lowe contributed to this story.

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