YAKIMA, Wash. -- 14 people were arrested Thursday during an immigration sweep in Ellensburg. Officers say all 14 were in the country illegally, and have fake identification. They were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury earlier this month on federal charges. 13 were charged with Visa and Government ID fraud. 3 are also charged with re-entering the U.S. after previously being deported.
13 of the suspects arrested are women, and many of them mothers. 16 others were also arrested for immigration reasons. Immigration Attorney, Tom Roach says he was contacted by the Archdiocese of Yakima to help out, because many of the families affected by the raid were church members. Now many children are separated from their parents; spouses are separated as well.
Roach says in some of these cases, the illegal residents have been living here for more than 10 years, and may be eligible for some sort of legal amnesty, depending on different factors. Some of the people in custody have kids who are U.S. citizens, so Roach is meeting with families and the church to see what their options are.
Roach says ICE usually targets criminal activity but other people often get caught during the investigations.