ICE Raid in Shelton

Residents report that at about 5:00 Thursday, May 31st, ICE agents raided an apartment complex and a mobile home park nearby in Shelton, and took (at least) 17 people. The detained people included both men and women, but it appears that the agents may have avoided residents who had children or if the woman was pregnant. One resident of an apartment that was not raided reports that it was done quietly, and that unaffected residents didn't know about the raid until two hours afterwards. There is an advocate onsite at the apartment complex gathering more information.

There is an interesting connection between a visit that the Washington State Commission of Human Rights did last week to Shelton and the raid. At the meeting last week a Hispanic man came forward to denounce repeated abuses by the management of an apartment complex towards Hispanic and immigrant tenants. The raid last morning happened, coincidentally, at that apartment complex. There is another interesting connection: large numbers of the immigrant population in Shelton live of harvesting salal (sometimes better know as brush). The harvesting season came to an end couple of weeks ago and this is the time when you can easily find people at their homes at times when, during the harvesting season, they would be working.

There was and still is a lot of confusion and fear in the community. Some families have been separated and there were people in the street on tears. There is a deep feeling of fear and silence. Many have left the community, included relatives of those detained. There are rumors that ICE continued operations during the whole day and more people may have been detained. The local bilingual elementary school is organizing van rides to pick up the kids of the families who are afraid to leave their homes.

The Washington State Human Rights Commission has already been notified and contact has been made with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to find the detainees at the detention center in Tacoma. The community is working on providing support to those families who will suffer financially because of the loss of the head of household.

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