Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents working with the Border Enforcement Security Team, or BEST, received a tip Thursday morning about a group of immigrants staying at the Gateway Hotel, 104 S. Stanton.Now, call me crazy, but if you have busted people at the same hotel and similar circumstances, it would seem to me that watching hotels in El Paso, and particularly this hotel, would be a good idea. Of course a better idea would be to prevent them from getting into the country in the first place.
ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa said the 68 immigrants included two Nicaraguans and 66 Mexican nationals, including three Mexican juveniles.
Zamarripa said that agents interviewed each immigrant individually and that some were interviewed more than once. She said the Mexican immigrants found would be returned to Mexico within 24 hours of the bust.
In March 2006, ICE agents and El Paso County sheriff's deputies detained 51 undocumented immigrants who had been staying in about 20 rooms at the hotel.
Information from that raid led agents to six other undocumented immigrants staying at the Hotel Rainbow, 317 S. El Paso.
Although the hotel remained open to customers already staying there as the investigation continued Thursday afternoon, room rentals were put on hold and the public was kept outside while agents searched rooms and carried boxes out of the hotel.
Hotel management could not be reached for comment Thursday.
In related news, celebrity Sheriff Joe Arpaio's team has busted another 59 illegals in two houses in Maricopa County, AZ.
Acting on a tip, deputies found 49 people in a house in the 6000 block of North Florence Avenue, with 10 more in the 12500 block of West Orange Drive, according to the Sheriff's Office. Both houses are in an unincorporated area northeast of Litchfield Park.Good.
One man had been shot while three others had been beaten, according to the sheriff's office.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio described the two busts as "typical" drop houses. The injuries are evidence that violence along the border in Mexico is moving north, he added.
"Now that we have our deputies trained (in federal immigration enforcement) we're going to concentrate more on these drop houses," Arpaio said.
I hope more of this goes on and is reported with more frequency, but I doubt it will happen.