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News Link • Criminal Justice System

ICE arrests farmworkers, sparking fears in the Central Valley over immigrants and the economy

• http://www.latimes.com, By Andrea Castillo

ICE agents pulled him over and asked for his license, registration and insurance and, most forebodingly, whether the men were in the United States legally.

Aceves and his passengers were taken to an immigrant detention facility. But none of them had been the target of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Three of the men had no criminal records. The most serious blots on the 44-year-old Aceves' record were several convictions — the most recent in 2012 — for driving without a license.

That morning, an ICE spokesman said, agents went to a Kern County residence where they thought an immigration target lived. One of the men who got into Aceves' car matched that person's description, he said. The ICE agents followed.

The arrests were part of a larger sweep in California's agricultural heartland that has sent fear through the Central Valley, where for generations, immigrants here — both legally and illegally — have picked crops. In some fields, almost all of the foreign workers are in the country without legal status.

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