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Immigration agents arrest 16 in Spa City

Immigration agents arrest 16 in Spa City

Arrests follow formation of Human Rights Task Force
Immigration agents arrest 16 in Spa City
Protesters rally in solidarity with immigrants in April at Union College.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 16 undocumented immigrants Tuesday near multiple homes in the city, an agency official said.

Those arrested include one Guatemalan national and 15 Mexican nationals, all between the ages of 19 and 49, who now face administrative immigration violations, said Khaalid Walls, an agency spokesman. 

Nine of those arrested are facing potential federal felony charges for re-entry after being deported for visa fraud, he said.

All 16 were being held in Albany County Correctional Facility as of Thursday, Walls said. He would not release further information at that time.

The arrests happened a week after Saratoga Springs formed the Human Rights Task Force, made up of 10 people tasked with making sure all immigrants feel welcome and safe in the city.

Mayor Joanne Yepsen, who appointed the new group’s members, said the agency is “carrying out the law and national agenda through ongoing investigations and targeted arrests.” 

“I absolutely respect the federal agency's authority to keep our cities and nation safe,” she said. “My concern … is that we are a community that relies significantly on the hospitality and racing industry workforce.”

She said the task force will work diligently to “execute education, information and raising awareness activities and presentations, including the immigration process and why it's so difficult.”

Yepsen has said the city has no plans to become a sanctuary city. 

Police Chief Greig Veitch in March said the department does not require or encourage officers to investigate the immigration status of victims or witnesses but that the department will cooperate with requests from a federal agency. 

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