Agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency arrested 11 illegal immigrants from Ecuador on Tuesday who were waiting for jobs near Kennedy Park.Perfect. Now we have a situation where 11 people were picked up on Kennedy Park. Now is a perfect time to keep a close eye on what happens down there.
ICE arrived in Danbury at about 6:30 a.m. and targeted the day laborers who wait in and around Kennedy Park for employers to pick them up. The area is a popular spot for immigrants, illegal and legal, who wait for contractors -- often looking for cheap and plentiful labor. At least 100 are there each weekday morning.
Danbury police said that after receiving numerous complaints from residents, police officers began warning the day laborers to stay out of the roadway and in Kennedy Park.
"The daily warnings which were given for a period of over two months were ignored and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency was called for assistance," said Police Capt. Robert Myles. Danbury police helped ICE with the sweep.
The 11 Ecuadoreans were taken into custody, though Paula Grenier, an ICE spokeswoman, said she did not know exactly where they were taken.
The Ecuadoreans are expected to appear before an immigration judge, although Grenier said she wasn't sure when.
Police Chief Al Baker said the department stepped up patrols of the Kennedy Park area earlier this summer after receiving several complaints from drivers about day laborers darting out into traffic.
"We've had some ongoing concerns since mid-summer," Baker said. "I've personally seen it where a person jumps out to a truck they think is going to stop to hire them. There are some real safety and traffic issues there."
Police officers on bicycles usually begin watching the area around 6 a.m., and sometimes patrol cars monitor the area, too, he said.
The arrests occurred Tuesday for no particular reason other than scheduling between local police and immigration officials.
Baker said ICE decided to conduct the illegal immigrant sweep after speaking with him about the safety and traffic concerns.
Will this send a sign to the Ecuadorians that they are not welcomed at Kennedy Park? Will illegals become fearful and leave the area? Will those who were arrested be deported? Will this program be sucessful?
There are many questions with few answers. Again, illegal immigration is a concern in parts of the city but whether it's a major concern to all the residents is clearly up for debate. What we can do is take this arrest as a starting point and see what happens.
Is this all a waste of taxpayers money or a sucessful program which will make a difference? Personally, I don't see how picking up 11 people will make a difference and I guess the day-laborers will be in full force by next week.
Only time will tell...