Latino residents avoid stores, schools to avoid rumored roundups of illegal immigrants.
Stephanie Chavez and Jean Paul Renaud, L. A. Times, Jun. 12
In the wake of U.S. Border Patrol arrests in the Inland Empire, heavily Latino neighborhoods and shopping districts in Pasadena, Huntington Park, Pomona and elsewhere were muted Friday as many fearful residents changed their routines to avoid rumored illegal-immigrant sweeps.
Reports circulated throughout those neighborhoods Friday that federal agents were arresting people outside supermarkets and restaurants, bringing some businesses to a near standstill. One Pasadena elementary school with a majority Latino student population reported 30% absenteeism. The city’s official day-laborer hiring site was deserted.
Those fears are unfounded, according to the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Authorities adamantly denied that their agents were out arresting suspected illegal immigrants in any of those cities this week.
“No, no, no. We’ve had no actions in any of those areas,” said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, successor to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. “Rumors have been feeding into wholesale hysteria for two days. We are not making any wholesale arrests.”
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