This is a correction to an earlier blog post, which I thought would correct some allegedly mistaken information I’d put into a June 14 story about a federal program called “Secure Communities” that has stirred up lots of controversy among undocumented immigrants and civil rights activists.
Unfortunately, the original story was right and I have Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton to thank for this screwy situation where I’m correcting an incorrect correction.
In that Secure Communities story, I mentioned a Danbury police sting operation that picked up 11 immigrants, saying “police arrested the 11 men and turned them over to federal immigration agents.” The case resulted in a 2007 civil rights lawsuit against the city and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on behalf of those immigrant workers.
Boughton, anti-illegal immigrant crusader and last year’s unsuccessful Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, emailed me saying I was mistaken, arguing that two different immigration courts had ruled the men “were not arrested by Danbury Police Department, they were arrested by [U.S.] Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
The problem with his statement is that, according to sworn depositions by Danbury cops, ICE agents, booking records and news reports, Danbury police did in fact arrest those 11 guys and then turned them over to ICE, which also arrested them on federal charges.
Danbury cops testified in their depositions that the 11 men were taken into custody - by Danbury police - for alleged traffic violations.
But the 11 men were apparently never booked for any traffic violations. They were charged by Danbury police with illegal entry into the United States, and later turned over to ICE agents.
According to Wishnie, booking records show the men weren’t turned over to federal officials until two hours after they were booked by Danbury cops.
In his deposition, ICE Agent James Brown also contradicted Boughton’s insistent claims that the alleged non-sting operation was a federal operation that Danbury police simply helped out with.
“He (Boughton) said the city did not order the operation, that ICE was already on the way. That is not correct, not for this activity,” Brown said.
Danbury Police Lt. James Fisher testified under oath that the arrest of those immigrants was initiated by Danbury cops, and ICE agreed to help only after the third or fourth request from the city. He said the operation came about as a result of pressure from Boughton for police to take action against the immigrant workers.
Hopefully more reporters will take a look at Boughton's long history of misleading the public about elements of the Danbury 11 case.