|Adolfo Garcia & Julio Diaz shortly after their arrest||/beating by ICE|
by Subhash Kateel
An article in this week’s Miami Herald brought me back to November 2008, when I was an immigrant rights organizer in South Florida. In turns out that two men from Guatemala, Adolfo García and Julio Díaz, are set to be deported by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on May 18. How they got picked up and why they shouldn’t be deported is the subject of my flashback.
It all started with a November 21, 2008 press release authored by the former US Attorney for South Florida Alex Acosta (now the Dean of the FIU law school) and the former ICE Special Agent-in Charge of all investigations for the Miami field office, Anthony Mangione, announcing that they had broken up a South Florida sex trafficking ring involving Central American immigrants in Palm Beach, Broward county and Homestead, a small ruralesque city in south Miami Dade county. The sex trafficking raids, as described in the release, netted a total of four arrests. At the time, even ICE’s most vocal critics looked each other in the face, shrugged their shoulders and said, “well sex trafficking is really bad, so I guess they did a good job.” It only took a matter of hours before another story unfolded of the 90 or so other people ICE arrested in the same raid that the agency didn’t tell the press about and who had nothing to do with sex trafficking. They called them “collateral arrests,” which in this case meant the “overwhelming majority of arrests.” Two of those collateral arrests were of Adolfo Garcia and Julio Diaz.
Several things make the “Homestead Raid of 2008,” as many have called it, ironic. For one, between Adolfo Garcia, Julio Diaz and Anthony Mangione, the Special Agent-in-Charge whose office led the raid, only one person would ever be charged with a sex crime…Anthony Mangione.