AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – We’re seeing a national crack down on people who are not U.S. citizens. Many of them have been working here for years. Irving De La Cruz-Ruiz is one of those people you may have seen working at a local Mexican restaurant or supervising a new roof on your home.
“We knew now that we have a new president something would probably happen.” Those are the words of Amanda Diaz, the wife of De La Cruz.
Diaz and her husband already started talking about becoming U.S. citizens with a lawyer, but the results of a 5 a.m. knock at door last Tuesday proved that process was started too late.
“I said who is it and they said police,” Diaz recalled. “I cracked my door and looked out there and it was actually a lady officer. She was holding a picture of some man and she asked me if I recognized the picture and I said no.”
It was Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security. Amanda and her kids watched ICE come in their Rae’s Creek mobile home and take away 28-year-old Irving De La Cruz Ruiz, a husband and father who traveled from Mexico 11 years ago and now works in Augusta.
After they looked at the ID they asked for his passport. He showed them his passport. They flipped to the back of the passport, looking I guess for his visa, and then they told him he was under arrest,” Diaz said.
ICE posted several tweets about its enforcement activities the same week De La Cruz was arrested.
DHS Secretary John Kelly confirmed to media that ICE has been out in full force.
“The people that ICE apprehend are people that are illegal and then some,” Kelly told media.
ICE Fugitive Operations teams in Atlanta took in around 200 people last week living illegally in Georgia as well as North and South Carolinas.
In this statement, we learned more of the arrests:
“Every day, as part of routine targeted enforcement operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Fugitive Operations teams arrest criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of our nation’s immigration laws.
ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”
Amanda claimed immigration found her home through another Hispanic man, not her husband. She also said he has no felonies and was saving money to pay the high cost of citizenship.
“Starting is probably about $10,000. And this process takes a couple of years.
Amanda’s husband isn’t the only person immigration picked up last week in the CSRA. NewsChannel 6 spoke with other families too who are all working to get their loved ones reconnected.
A spokesman from ICE said of the 200 people picked up in the three state area, most of them are convicted criminals. Diaz said her husband doesn’t have more than a traffic violation.
In addition to saving money for citizenship, Diaz added she’s now raising three kids alone and having to pay court and legal fees. She started a Go Fund Me account titled Help Reunite This Family.