Blog Archive

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Breaking: Immigrant To Be Deported After Father's Day Weekend Bust

By Tim Paynter
June 27, 2011

If undocumented immigrant Julio Alvarez had any idea waiting for his children on the Bouncy Castle ride at the Strawberry Days Festival in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, was going to end with his deportation, he never would have spent Father’s Day weekend, 2011 with his children. Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputies approached Julio and his brother Cesar, and asked them to follow the deputies to a mobile command station, leaving the Alvarez children unsupervised. The Sheriff’s Office suggests they were not at fault for leaving the kids alone because the Alvarez brothers “consented” to go with them.

When Julio’s wife, Lorenza, who was seven months pregnant, could not find either her children, or the brothers, she panicked and called carnival security, who likely knew exactly where Julio and Cesar were: Under arrest, having been handed over to ICE. The Sheriff's Office takes credit for calling the ambulance when Lorenza became distraught and had to be transported to the hospital.

News travels fast in the Latino community about ICE raids. News travels fast amongst English speakers in the small town of Glenwood Springs, famous for it’s hot springs, that the cops had chased a man through the carnival earlier in the day, presumably when he did not "consent" to their request to have a little chat. Neither immigrants, Latinos nor English speaking families wanted anything to to with law enforcement’s version of playing rough house in an amusement park, and the carnival went nearly vacant on Sunday. That is the day when merchants depend upon recouping their investment in the festival.

Small town sheriff’s departments rely on citizens to cooperate with law enforcement to do their job. As it turns out, the Garfield County Sheriff got the bright idea of inviting ICE to their carnival, a move which alienated everyone. Who wants to take their tiny tots and pregnant wives to places where aggressive police actions are in process?

According the the Sheriff’s Office, ICE got involved as part of a “Multi-Jurisdictional Gang Enforcement Operation” which took ICE away from protecting our borders and netted the huge sum of three individuals including Julio, who claims he is a father and not a member of a gang. His only crme was wearing a sports shirt and being Latino.

The Sheriff’s Office has responded, not by taking responsibility for it’s actions, but by blaming bad press on a local organizer, Brendan Greene of the Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition (CIRC). Fearing no one, the Sheriff's press release stated Mr. Green's "Lies and false propaganda" had forced them to put out additional press releases . There was some confusion as to the day of the Alvarez arrest, as if that makes ICE operations in sensitive areas appropriate. Early press reports said the event happened on Father’s Day. The deputies robbed the Alvarez children of their daddy on Father’s Day by arresting Julio Saturday night of the Father’s Day weekend.

While the City of Glenwood Springs will have a tough time winning Latino participation in future Strawberry Days Festival events, despite the Festival having a 114 year history, the true loser is Julie Alvarez and his wife and children. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Department, again fearing no one, released the criminal background histories of the men they arrested. Cesar, whom they released after Lorenza Alvarez plead with officers to let him go since he was the sole caretaker of his two children, had no arrest record whatever.

Julio was the big catch between the two. According to the Sheriff's Office press release, this tough "gang member" was found guilty of driving while ability impaired (DWAI), a misdemeanor, in May of 2005, and reentry into the US to be with his children. That record puts Julio into the rapid repatriation process, meaning it takes little judicial oversight to put him on a bus. National Public Radio says he may be bounced back home before this article is printed.

Meanwhile, ICE and Sheriff Lou Vallario of Garfield County Claim victory, with the Sheriff insisting Alvarez’s single DWAI constitutes a serious criminal background history. The Sheriff can likely count out cooperation by the immigrant community he has terrorized for future help in trying to nab those less serious criminals like child molesters and drug dealers. The Alvarez Children might meet those kinds of predators one day, since they will be making their way in life with no father to guide them unless a miracle happens.