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Threatened ICE Raids Create More Political Noise Than Police Action

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Threatened ICE Raids Create More Political Noise Than Police Action

Most Sundays, Elias takes his girlfriend and toddler to the beach or the park. This Sunday, the three hunkered down in his MacArthur Park apartment.

Elias and his family were reacting to the Trump administration’s long-threatened Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, which supposedly were set to begin Sunday morning.

The Guatemalan immigrant, who asked to be identified only by his first name, doesn’t have a removal order against him and has a visa that allows him to temporarily live and work in the country legally.

Still, he’s petrified to leave his home. He used vacation days to avoid going to work at his cafe job this week. Over the weekend, he ordered meals online for delivery and answered the door only to people he knew.

“I feel like there is no way to hide but just pray to my God to protect me,” he said.

In immigrant communities across the country, the weekend brought anxiety and questions about how extensive the much-hyped ICE action actually would be.

But while there were scattered reports over the weekend of ICE agents poised to sweep into urban areas, and of arrests in a few states, by Sunday evening there was nothing approaching the mass roundups that the White House had suggested could roll out over the next several days or weeks.

The anticipated raids — which President Trump last week forecast as a “major operation” — were expected to target several major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Miami, Denver, Atlanta, Baltimore and Houston. ICE was believed to be focusing on about 2,000 immigrants who have missed court appearances or been ordered to be removed from the U.S.

Many local and state elected officials and regional law enforcement agencies across the country have denounced the anticipated raids and pledged not to cooperate with ICE.

This was the second time this summer that presidential vows of large-scale raids have failed to happen. The president announced in a June 17 tweet that ICE soon would start deporting “millions” of migrants; the operation was put on hold days later.

Over the weekend, protests were held in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver and Philadelphia. At one immigration detention center in Washington state, a man armed with a rifle and throwing incendiary devices died Saturday after four police officers arrived and opened fire.

The shooting happened six hours after a peaceful rally in front of the facility.

Louis DeSipio, a political science professor at UC Irvine, said the way the weekend transpired illustrated Trump’s ability to maintain high levels of fear in immigrant communities, regardless of whether his threats materialize.

But Sunday’s lack of action probably further strained the president’s relationship with ICE, because the agency once again had to divert resources into an operation that fell short of expectations, DeSipio said.

By comparison, he said, the George W. Bush administration moved away from highly publicized activities because officials realized that such actions strained resources and inhibited essential day-to-day immigration enforcement operations.

“That means there’s less enforcement, ironically,” under the Trump administration, DeSipio said.

ICE operations are continuing. The agency typically conducts large-scale operations three or four times during the year and generally averages 40 to 50 arrests a day during larger operations, an agent previously told The Times.

Those operations target public safety threats, such as convicted criminals and individuals who have violated immigration laws. Last year in California, ICE conducted at least four operations that spanned several days, resulting in nearly 700 arrests.

Agents conducted a targeted enforcement operation in Los Angeles from July 7 to last Thursday, according to an ICE official. Dozens were arrested, the majority with criminal convictions. Similar operations have netted just fewer than 900 arrests nationwide during the last couple of months, the official said.

Last week, as the possibility of large-scale raids surfaced, immigrant-rights advocates mounted a legal counteroffensive. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a preemptive lawsuit Thursday in the U.S.

District Court in San Francisco seeking a temporary restraining order that would have forced ICE to allow detainees access to legal services — including on Sundays, when immigration processing centers are closed, lawyers said.

Judge James Donato denied the restraining order but said he “expects” that immigrants won’t be deported until they can speak to an attorney.

“This is a serious concern, and access to an attorney for individuals confronted by the police power of the state is a hallowed principle in our republic,” he said.

In Miami on Sunday, ICE agents were seen knocking on doors near the city’s international airport, and on Friday in the rural migrant farming community of Immokalee, Fla., but there were no reports of arrests.

Norelia Sanchez, an immigrant family support worker with Redlands Christian Migrant Assn. in Immkolee, said migrants called her Friday morning when they saw ICE agents going door to door.

Sanchez said she emerged from her home to see mothers rushing through the streets with their children as if they were fleeing a disaster.

“You would see parents that were actually with a phone in their hand, nervous and running because there are summer programs and they’re trying to take children to school,” she said.

In New York, three attempted ICE raids were reported Saturday — two in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn and one in Harlem, according to the New York Mayor’s Office of Immigration Affairs. No arrests were made, the office said in a statement.

Claudia Galicia, a community organizer with Sunset Park Latino Democrats, said families told her that ICE agents showed up at apartment complexes and started ringing doorbells. She said many people, especially those with outstanding deportation orders, left their homes and are staying with family, friends or in sanctuary churches around the city.

But those who stayed home knew to assert their right to not open the door for agents, she said.

“One family told us that they hid in their bedroom while ICE knocked on their door for 20 minutes,” Galicia said.

In Mexico and Central America, news of the raids was widely circulated, but official reaction was generally tepid in a region where leaders often are hesitant to criticize U.S. policy directly.

Marcelo Ebrard, the Mexican foreign minister, told reporters Sunday that Mexico would “defend without restriction the rights of our co-nationals in the United States,” repeating the country’s oft-stated position.

Any Mexican nationals deported “are going to find in Mexico an opportunity for jobs and support from the Mexican government,” he added.

Mexico’s quasi-independent National Commission on Human Rights said it was watching the raids “with preoccupation,” voicing concern that the enhanced enforcement could prompt “acts of discrimination and xenophobia” against people “who only look for a better opportunity in life for themselves and their families.”

Mexico and Central American nations already receive large numbers of deportees returned on an almost daily basis via the U.S.-Mexico border or flown to Guatemala, El Salvador and other nations.

In Guatemala, President Jimmy Morales canceled a planned visit Monday to Washington amid strong U.S. pressure for Guatemala to accept designation as a “safe third country” for migrants.

The Guatemalan government said it has not agreed to such a designation, which could result in Honduran and El Salvadoran asylum seekers detained at the U.S.-Mexico border being sent back to Guatemala for adjudication of their claims.

Critics say that violence-plagued Guatemala, a major source of asylum seekers in the United States, is ill-suited as a safe haven for migrants.

Back in MacArthur Park, which for decades has served as a port of entry for new arrivals from Mexico and Central America, the prevailing mood among business owners Sunday was one of unease and anger as the threat of raids kept patrons away.

The 30-acre park — usually a magnet for throngs of people on a summer weekend — was nearly empty.

Leaning against the counter of a Total Wireless store, salesman Biviano Oxlaj, who earns commission on sales, shook his head in dismay.

“I’ve been staring at the front door all day, just hoping a customer shows up,” he said. “Business is down by 75%, and it’s been that way since Saturday. But since this is all because of an order from the White House, there’s not much anyone can do but wait for it to pass like a storm cloud.”

In nearby Koreatown, Edgar Barrera noticed that his neighborhood was quieter than usual on Sunday. Fewer people attended the morning church service, he didn’t spot many families walking the streets, and the nearby Guatemalan and Salvadoran bakeries were virtually empty, he said.

Barrera, 59, lives in the country illegally and works seven days a week managing a shop that ships packages to Guatemala. But he said he won’t let fear ruin the life he’s built over the last 20 years.

“I can’t give myself the luxury of not going to work,” he said. “I have to pay rent; I have to pay for food. My mother is sick and needs medicine, and I’m the only person who can pay her medical bills.”

Sunday morning, Barrera took side roads to get to work. But he’s not changing his routine too much.

“I’m tired of running away all the time,” he said. “I’m hoping that if I stay calm, nothing will happen.”

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

In the operation, dubbed “Operation Child Protector,” undercover officers posed as 13- and 14-year-old children on social media and online dating apps between July 27 and Aug. 1.

The undercovers made contact with each of the suspects before proposing they meet at a location in Polk County, where they were busted.

In total, the arrests led to 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges. Those arrested were aged 26 to 47. All were from Central Florida except for one 33-year-old man from California.

“What you see on this board … are deviants. Incredible deviants,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Tuesday, motioning to photos of the alleged pervs. “They travel from as far away as Clewiston, Florida. One even came from Los Angeles.”

“Much to their chagrin, instead of meeting with young children, they were met by law enforcement officers who were online undercover posing as children.”

Kenneth Javier Aquino, 26, a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World, was arrested while still wearing his Disney polo shirt and swimsuit, according to the sheriff’s office.

Aquino engaged in an online conversation on social media with an officer, posing as a 13-year-old girl, authorities said. He then asked the “girl” to send photos, and sent her an explicit video of himself, police said.

Aquino told officers he is a Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend.

Jonathan McGrew, a 34-year-old custodian at Disney World, was nabbed by an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

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McGrew allegedly told the “girl” that he wanted her to come over and have sex with him and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence, who also works as a custodian at tourist mecca.

McGrew sent her explicit videos of him and Lawrence performing sexual acts on each other, authorities said.

A rep for Disney World didn’t immediately return a message.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

He began experiencing nausea, vomiting, fever and neurological issues, and died in May.

Blood and saliva samples were tested and researchers in April found evidence of the Monkey B virus, also known as the herpes B virus.

Researchers said a male doctor and female nurse who were in close contact with the victim tested negative for the virus.

The Monkey B virus is prevalent among macaque monkeys but infection among humans is extremely rare. Since the virus was identified in 1932, just 50 cases have been reported, with the majority of those in North America. Untreated B virus infections in humans are serious, however, with a fatality rate of about 80 percent.

Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and progress to more serious complications such as swelling of the brain and spinal cord.

Laboratory workers and veterinarians in close contact with the animals are most at risk as people typically get infected with the virus if they are bitten or scratched by an infected macaque, or have contact with the monkey’s eyes, nose or mouth.

But the virus is unlikely to mutate in a way that poses a problem to the general population. Just one case of human-to-human transmission of the virus has ever been documented.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

In New York, a dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner. The Pentagon’s observance will be so restricted that not even victims’ families can attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.

Trump and Biden are both headed — at different times — to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Trump is speaking at the morning ceremony, the White House said. Biden plans to pay respects there in the afternoon after attending the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is also due at ground zero — and then at the alternate ceremony a few blocks away.

In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.

Still, 9/11 families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001, shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.

“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.

Friday will mark Trump’s second time observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, where he made remarks in 2018. Biden spoke at the memorial’s dedication in 2011, when he was vice president.

The ground zero ceremony in New York has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to speak, though they can attend. Biden did so as vice president in 2010, and Trump as a candidate in 2016.

Though the candidates will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their focus on Shanksville is hard to ignore: Pennsylvania is a must-win state for both. Trump won it by less than a percentage point in 2016.

Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.

The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.

Thousands of family members are still invited. But they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.

But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.

The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.

Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.

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