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Authorities with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency arrested nine people in late October as part of the operation dubbed "Return

to Sender."

The arrests were made in the "Santa Fe-Albuquerque area" according to an ICE spokeswoman who couldn't provide more details on the arrest locations Wednesday evening.

The people arrested by the Albuquerque Fugitive Operations Team included one criminal ICE fugitive from Mexico; two noncriminal ICE fugitives from Guatemala; five noncriminal nonfugitives from Mexico and one noncriminal nonfugitive from Guatemala, said ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa.

Not all the arrestees met the same fate, however. Some were taken to El Paso to be deported, while others were to await immigration hearings.

One was given an "order of supervision for humanitarian reasons," Zamarripa said in an e-mail. Those orders, under which the person isn't detained but must check in periodically with immigration officials, are given in cases where, for example, the arrestee is caring for a minor or an elderly parent.

One woman arrested in the roundup was a Santa Fe woman who lived here for six years and has three children. The woman's sister is now caring for the children.

"She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," said the woman's sister, who asked not to be identified.

The arrested woman didn't have a criminal record and is worried sick about being separated from her youngest daughter, who is 3 years old, the sister said. The woman was arrested early one weekend morning late last month outside her apartment.

Operation Return to Sender is a nationwide immigration enforcement program that began in May 2006.

Zamarripa said ICE agents during such operations look for specific criminals but also arrest other people whom they find to be in the country without permission.

ICE this spring said it had arrested 45 immigrants in Santa Fe, including some at a highway anti-DWI checkpoint around Memorial Day weekend.

Contact Kate Nash at 986-3036 or Read her blog, Green Chile Chatter, at


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Title Annotation:Local News
Publication:The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM)
Date:Nov 13, 2008
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