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Family sues federal agents over immigration raids

Posted at 6:09 PM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-27 20:09:43-05

SALT LAKE CITY - The nightmare started at lunchtime on April 10, 2017.

Alicia Carmona was babysitting her four grandchildren, ages two to six, when she heard a loud knock on the door to her son Carlos' and daughter-in-law Berenice's apartment.

Soon, a group of thirteen federal agents entered, uninvited, using a key from the landlord.

Carmona says she was separated from the children, arrested, and taken away from the family home. The federal agents were from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Marshals, looking for Carlos father, Abel Ramirez, Sr.

"We kept asking to see a warrant, but they didn't show us anything," said Carlos.

Abel Ramirez Sr was wanted for entering the country illegally, according to lawyers from the ACLU and Covington and Burling, a national law firm assisting with the case.

Without finding Abel, the agents took Alicia, an undocumented immigrant. All the other adults in the family have protection through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and Alicia's grandchildren are U.S. citizens.

The next day, Carlos says he focused on finding out where his mother was detained and if he could get her out. But the raids weren't over.

At 10pm on April 11, the agents were back, this time with a battering ram.

"They entered without turning on lights. The children were sleeping in the back bedroom and awoke with assault weapons in their face," said Starling Marshal, the Covington and Burling lawyer working on the case.

The agents again asked for Abel Ramirez Sr. The family told them they didn't know where he was.

They left the apartment in disarray, the children crying, and the family still without grandmother Alicia.

Federal Marshals and Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not comment on the case, saying they don't remark on pending litigation, though ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok provided this statement:

“As a matter of policy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not comment on pending litigation. However, lack of comment should not be construed as agreement with or stipulation to any of the allegations. As part of the Department of Homeland Security’s homeland security mission, our trained law enforcement professionals adhere to the Department’s mission and values, and uphold our laws while continuing to provide the nation with safety and security.”