ICE arrests shake up Ellensburg community - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

ICE arrests shake up Ellensburg community

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  • Families torn apart during ICE raid

    Families torn apart during ICE raid

    Friday, January 21 2011 11:09 PM EST2011-01-22 04:09:31 GMT
    14 people were arrested Thursday during an immigration sweep in Ellensburg. 13 of the suspects arrested are women, and many of them mothers and spouses.More >>
    14 people were arrested Thursday during an immigration sweep in Ellensburg. 13 of the suspects arrested are women, and many of them mothers and spouses.More >>

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Schools and businesses in Ellensburg were interrupted Thursday morning, when agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made several arrests.

A spokesperson for ICE tells KNDO there were 11 criminal warrants served today throughout the city. According to friends and families we spoke to Thursday night, the arrests have taken quite the emotional toll.

Morgan Middle School student Jaron Hagen found out his best friend since kindergarten was leaving school, after learning his friend's parents had been one of the many arrested during what they believed was an immigration sweep.

"You've known them for as long as you've had, that they're leaving, but even if it's just their parents leaving, it's kind of hard to think that they're not going to have parents for how long," Hagen said.

ICE spokesperson Lorie Dankers says this was not an "immigration raid" and agents did not go into schools and take kids away.

Jaron's mother, Sandra Franz, didn't learn of what happened until she picked her son up from school. "There are kids spending the night at school because they have no home to go to."

Franz says she's talked with friends who say kids that have gone home from school, not knowing that their parents were taken, were going back to an empty house. "I'm sorry. It just really upsets me. I don't understand," Franz said.

Cynthia Alvarez who lives at Mill Pond Mobile Manor, one of the places agents made arrests, says she saw the helicopters and SUV's at around 6:00 a.m.

Alvarez says she witnessed agents arresting her neighbor. "And, I also heard that they broke into houses and that they were pointing guns at these little kids," said Alvarez. "You know, they're innocent. They don't know what they're doing."

The impact is being felt all throughout the community. Neighbors and families say they're trying to understand, and help one another out.

Including, best friends who are going to have to take it one day at a time. "I was texting him (my friend), when he said that .. I was asking him how he was doing. And I said how's your family, and said he doesn't even know where his parents are right now," Hagen said.

A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not go into further detail, but says this is a Homeland Security Investigation. Click here for Immigration News Release

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